The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a W3C standard for describing web resources, such as the title, author, creation date, modification date, content, content type, and copyright information of a Web page. RDF is written in XML, and its purpose is to describe metadata for web resources. RDF is metadata (data about data) and is used to describe information resources. Databases (data and metadata) are an integral part of web resources, and their contents and associated metadata are accessed by web pages and resources. Therefore, database content and database metadata can be expressed as an RDF notation (actual records and metadata can be expressed in RDF/XML).

According to Wikipedia, the Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a family of specifications for a metadata model that is often implemented as an application of XML. The RDF family of specifications is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The RDF metadata model is based on the idea of making statements about resources in the form of a subject-predicate-object expression, called a triple in DF terminology. The subject is the resource, the “thing” being described. The predicate is a trait or aspect of that resource, and often expresses a relationship between the subject and the object. The object is the object of the relationship or value of that trait. This mechanism for describing resources is a major component in what is proposed by the W3C’s Semantic Web activity: an evolutionary stage of the World Wide Web in which automated software can store, exchange, and utilize metadata about the vast resources of the Web, in turn enabling users to deal with those resources with greater efficiency and certainty. RDF’s simple data model and ability to model disparate, abstract concepts has also led to its increasing use in knowledge management applications unrelated to Semantic Web activity.

According to Eric Miller, author of “An Introduction to the Resource Description Framework”, RDF is an infrastructure that enables the encoding, exchange, and reuse of structured metadata. RDF is an application of XML that imposes needed structural constraints to provide unambiguous methods of expressing semantics. RDF additionally provides a means for publishing both human-readable and machine-processiblevocabularies designed to encourage the reuse and extension of metadata semantics among disparate information communities. The structural constraints RDF imposes to support the consistent encoding and exchange of standardized metadata provide for the interchangeability of separate packages of metadata defined by different resource description communities.

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