An introduction to RDF

RDF, or Resource Description Framework, is a scheme for describing data, typically in the format of triplets:

Subject -> predicate -> object

For example,

My house (subject) Is painted (predicate) Blue (object)

RDF is used widely on the Internet to provide context to HTML-structured documents.

RDF is the next revolution following HTML: where HTML provided us with linked, formatted documents, RDF gives us a means to enrich documents with context.

There are many RDF vocabularies available, some of which are highly specialized. Let's take a look at some of the more popular ones:

  • Schema.org
    Contains a class hierarchy of real-world things such as events, articles, commercial products, organizations, etc. This vocabulary is useful for describing common content on the Internet and is widely used.
  • Wikidata
    The ambition of this vocabulary is to provide an RDF representation of the content of the Wikipedia dictionary. It is useful for making references to existing things, such as people, places, organizations, etc.

It is not uncommon for business and organizations to have their own public RDF vocabulary. Notable examples include the BBC and the EU.