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Created: March 21, 2002.
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W3C RDF Core Working Group Publishes RDF Primer Working Draft.

The W3C RDF Core Working Group has produced an initial public working draft RDF Primer. The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is "a general-purpose language for representing information in the World Wide Web. It is particularly intended for representing metadata about Web resources, such as the title, author, and modification date of a Web page, the copyright and syndication information about a Web document, the availability schedule for some shared resource, or the description of a Web user's preferences for information delivery. RDF provides a common framework for expressing this information in such a way that it can be exchanged between applications without loss of meaning. Since it is a common framework, application designers can leverage the availability of common RDF parsers and processing tools. Exchanging information between different applications means that the information may be made available to applications other than those for which it was originally created. This Primer is designed to provide the reader the basic fundamentals required to effectively use RDF in their particular applications."

Bibliographic information: RDF Primer. W3C Working Draft 19-March-2002. Edited by Frank Manola (The MITRE Corporation) and Eric Miller (W3C). Version URL: Latest version URL:

"The Resource Description Framework (RDF) integrates a variety of applications from library catalogs and world-wide directories to syndication and aggregation of news, software, and content to personal collections of music, photos, and events using XML as an interchange syntax. The RDF specifications provide a lightweight ontology system to support the exchange of knowledge on the Web."

Excerpts from the RDF Primer:

Like HTML, [the RDF markup] form of information is machine processable, and links pieces of data across the Web. However, unlike conventional hypertext, RDF links can refernece any identifiable things, including things that may or may not be Web-based data. The result is that in addition to describing Web pages, we can also convey information about cars, businesses, people, news events, etc. Further, RDF links themselves can be labeled, to indicate the kind of relationship that exists between the linked items... by generalizing the concept of a 'Web resource', RDF can be used to represent information about anything that can be identified on the Web, such as information about items available from online shopping facilities (e.g., information about prices, publishers, and availability of books or recordings).

The complete specification of RDF consists of a number of documents: (1) RDF Model Theory [and graph syntax]; (2) RDF/XML syntax; (3) RDF Schema [and datatypes]; (4) RDF Test Cases; (5) RDF Primer [this document].

This Primer is intended to augment the other parts of the RDF specification, to help information system designers and application developers understand the features of RDF, and how to use them. In particular, the Primer is intended to answer such questions as: (1) What information can RDF represent? (2) What does RDF look like? (3) How is RDF information created, accessed, and processed? (4) How can existing information be combined with RDF? The Primer is a non-normative document, which means that it does not provide a definitive (from the W3C's point of view) specification of RDF. The examples and other explanatory material in this document are provided to help you understand RDF, but they may not always provide definitive or fully-complete answers. In such cases, you should refer to the relevant normative parts of the RDF specification. To help you do this, we provide links pointing to the relevant parts of the normative specifications.

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