I've been hearing a lot about linked data in the past year, and I find that I'm very fuzzy about what linked data is and how it matters or might matter to libraries, to organizations that have libraries and to people who may use libraries.
My first question is What is linked data? A good starting place for me is the definition at http://linkeddata.org
"Linked Data is about using the Web to connect related data that wasn't previously linked, or using the Web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods. More specifically, Wikipedia defines Linked Data as 'a term used to describe a recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs and RDF.'" --linkeddata.org, read Nov. 10, 2010.
I checked wikipedia for a definition and found a slightly different, more technical definition of linked data.
"Linked Data is a sub-topic of the Semantic Web. The term Linked Data is used to describe a method of exposing, sharing, and connecting data via dereferenceable URIs on the Web." --wikipedia, read on Nov. 10, 2010.
Of course, I had no idea what "dereferenceable URIs" are. Well, a dereferenceable URI is the normal and obvious way that links on the Web work: a URI refers to a page that the web server returns a copy of.
I'm in a technical vocabulary thicket,and I don't want to be. That may be useful later, but not now. I need to put it in my own words or into words I understand.
Let me try working with that definition cited by linkeddata.org: "... a recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs and RDF.'
Linked data is a way to expose, share, or connect to data on the Web so that the data can be understood or is meaningful to other machines on the Web. This is how Linked Data is a sub-topic of the Semantic Web. Additionally, Linked Data uses URIs as names for things and RDF as the data model so that statements about resources (in particular Web resources)are made in the form of subject-predicate-object expressions, and these expressions are known as triples.
Well, that is making sense to me, but I don't know that it would make much sense to anyone else, or be seen by anyone else as an improvement over the other available definitions. It helps me, though. That is enough for now.