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The question about RDF/Semantic Web

Submitted by nk on Wed, 2008-03-12 14:20

If I have a database of something then why it is good for my business to share the whole database with everyone without compensation of any kind...? While the copyright law is flawed in many ways, still, a selective collection of facts ordered in a creative way is subject to copyright protection -- this surely indicates that there is something of value in there.

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Submitted by on Wed, 2008-03-12 15:59.

While it may not make sense for all of your data, it may make sense for some of it. The best example I can think of is the Craigslist / Google Maps mash-up at You can go there and choose a city, and then it will plot out on a Google map the scraped addresses for the available housing from Criagslist. It also embeds any pictures from Craigslist, and hotlinks back to the site for the full listing.

In the end, it adds value to Craigslist's data while still driving traffic back to their site. And I can attest that this type of mash-up does indeed help to visualize the price ranges for different areas and see which apartments are available in certain neighborhoods.

There is still a data latency issue and not all of the available data gets plotted, but it's just one example of what types of combinations could be made if you think about being able to pull in all sorts of other available data. With RDF, I imagine that you'd see all sorts of different combinations where you'd be able to trace back to the original sources.

Submitted by on Wed, 2008-03-12 17:12.

In this case it, also, adds branding for Google maps. At first I didn't see the benefit. But, this drives a certain amount of traffic back to google because of the brand used in this mash-up. Google can then advertise on google maps and make some money.

I think this whole topic brings up an important point. When we do the sharing it needs to make sense in light of your organizations vision. Some groups may want to open the flood gates. Some may only want to let a little out.

I really see RDF as an opportunity. How we use it really depends on our groups/companies/non-profits vision and how it can best support your thing.

Submitted by highermath@drup... on Thu, 2008-03-13 16:26.

It is really about extending the possibilities for consuming information that is already available on the web, and facilitating the sharing of information that cannot easily be consumed by web browsers.

In the open source continent of the digital library world, commercial use is always hotly debated, but the reality is that when RDF gains a foothold, solutions to commercial problems will follow pretty quickly.