John Goodwin has written a useful introduction to linked data. He begins, "In the early 1990s there began to emerge a new way of using the internet to link documents together. It was called the World Wide Web. What the Web did that was fundamentally new was that it enabled people to publish documents on the internet and link them such that you could navigate from one document to another. Part of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision of the Web was that it should also be used to publish, share and link data. This aspect of Sir Tim’s original vision has gained a lot of momentum over the last few years and has seen the emergence of the Linked Data Web."
Goodwin continues, "The Linked Data Web is not just about connecting datasets, but about linking information at the level of a single statement or fact. The idea behind the Linked Data Web is to use URIs (these are like the URLs you type into your browser when going to a particular website) to identify resources such as people, places and organisations, and to then use web technology to provide some meaningful and useful information when these URIs are looked up. This ‘useful information’ can potentially be returned in a number of different encodings or formats, but the standard way for the linked data web is to use something called RDF (Resource Description Framework)."
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