Karen Coyle, an authority on linked data in libraries whom we have recently reported on, shared her thoughts on visualizing linked data: “One of the questions I always get when talking about the Semantic Web is ‘What does it look like?’ This is kind of like asking what electricity looks like: it doesn’t so much look like anything, as it makes certain things possible. But I fully understand that people need to see something for this all to make sense, so when the webinar technology allows it I have started showing some web pages. When it doesn’t, I send people to links they can explore on their own. Since some of you may have this same question, here are a few illustrations using two sites that can present authors in a Semantic Web form.”

Coyle continues, “When you do a search for an author on the Open Library you retrieve a page for the author. This is a page for the author Barbara Cartland (above). The page has not been hand-coded by a human but is derived “on the fly” from the information in the Open Library database. That same information is available in a semantic web format, RDF in XML… This is not intended to be human friendly — it is code to be used by programs. You should notice that it makes use of identifiers that look like URLs: <foaf:person about=”http://openlibrary.org/authors/OL22022A”></foaf:person>”

Coyle goes on, “The above establishes the primary identifier for all of the information that follows in the XML. You will also see that, like other applications using XML, it allows you to mix data elements from different “namespaces.” The Open Library RDF uses a mix of elements from Dublin Core, Friend-of-a-Friend (FOAF), the Bibliographic Ontology, and RDA Vocabularies.”

Learn more about this topic here.

Image: Courtesy kcoyle.blogspot.com