Summary

The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is essentially a system for describing or representing information on the web. It provides a consistent way of defining, linking, and querying data across various domains.

ELI5

Imagine you’re playing with a set of Lego blocks. Each block can be labeled with information (like a name, color, size, etc.) and you can connect the blocks in various ways for build something. Similarly, RDF allows you to label and link pieces of information over the internet, helping you create connections and locate specifics from a huge set of information.

In-depth explanation

The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a standard model for data interchange on the Web. RDF extends the linking structure of the Web to use URIs to name the relationship between things as well as the two ends of the link. This linking structure forms a directed, labeled graph, where the edges represent the named link between two resources, represented by the graph nodes.

At its heart, RDF is a way to create subject-predicate-object expressions. It can represent almost any kind of data structure and can be used to model, among others, personal data, social networks, metadata annotations, digital content distribution, etc. Besides, it’s flexible, as anyone can define his/her vocabulary, effectively creating a domain-specific language for a subset of the data.

The basic RDF statement is composed of three elements: a subject, a predicate (also known as a property), and an object. These three elements together form what is known as an RDF triple. The subject is the resource being discussed, the predicate is the attribute or aspect of the subject being described, and the object is the value of that attribute. The RDF data is then structured as a directed labeled graph, which provides a powerful structure for expressing and querying data relationships.

Furthermore, RDF itself is only one piece of a larger suite of technologies known as the Semantic Web. The goal of the Semantic Web is to make the web more meaningful and accessible for both humans and machines. This is where RDF works hand-in-hand with other Semantic Web technologies like SPARQL (a query language for RDF), OWL (a language for defining web ontologies), RDFS (RDF Schema: a vocabulary description language), and others.

Semantic Web, SPARQL, OWL, RDFS, RDF Triple, URI, Ontology, Web Ontology Language