Linked Data and the Semantic Web: Descriptions, discussions, and tools

Happy New Year all, and apologies for how quiet the end of the year was on this blog.

I was recently asked my thoughts on Linked Data.  I honestly couldn’t offer much.  My previous impressions of the Semantic Web and Linked Data were that they were mostly the domain of theorists and niche enthusiasts, and that practical implementations were few and far between.  The state of the Semantic Web was such that I really had a hard time “geting it”, even though I’d done a bit of reading on the topic.

Since the question had come up again, I decided to once again do a bit of investigation.  While I’m still not sure that I completely “get it”, what I’ve found seems to indicate that the Semantic Web and Linked Data in particular are inching towards more general use.  I think there’s still a way to go, and that implementations will be fluid for a while until accepted patterns emerge.  However, for the first time, I see real promise.

As a starting point for learning about Linked Data and the Semantic Web, check out the following links.

Discussion:

http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/11/semantic-web-linked-data.html – This post is the one that made me really stop and reconsider the Semantic Web.  It lays out many of the reasons why I’d found it difficult to approach before, while offering a way forward.

Descriptions:

http://www.slideshare.net/iandavis/30-minute-guide-to-rdf-and-linked-data – A nice overview
http://www.w3.org/RDF/ – RDF explanation, from W3C
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RDFa – RDFa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPARQL – SPARQL
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Ontology_Language – OWL

Toolkits (primarily for .NET):

http://dotnetrdf.org/ – a Semantic Web/RDF Library for C#/.NET
http://razor.occams.info/code/semweb/ – another Semantic Web/RDF Library for C#/.NET (no longer maintained)
http://code.google.com/p/linqtordf/ – a LINQ implementation for RDF; this sounds really interesting
http://rowlex.nc3a.nato.int/HowToUse.aspx – a .NET library for easily creating and browsing RDF documents
http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/wiki/Tools – a list of Semantic Web Development Tools (not just .NET)

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