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Who's Using RDF?

RDF has a strong following in the library and information-management community. That's no surprise, considering RDF's origin as a metadata representation lingua franca. Emerging metadata standards such as PRISM, Dublin Core, RSS, and PICS are leveraging RDF to build domain-specific metadata standards. The Dublin Core, in particular, has gained enormous traction in the publishing industry (see the end of this article for links to these efforts).

You may already be using RDF without knowing it. Many organizations are using RSS to syndicate information about what's on their sites—CNET's News.com is a good example—go to http://news.com.com/2009-1090-980549.html and you'll find a set of RSS feeds for different News.com articles. RSS syntax is a simplified RDF grammar. The PRISM working group, which defines a metadata standard on top of RDF, is composed of such premier brands as Adobe, Time Inc., McGraw-Hill, and Kodak—these are the kinds of companies that are making a commitment to metadata and to RDF.

Whether by accident or design, RDF is positioned to be the industry standard for a metadata renaissance. As information technology becomes more about sifting through the vast quantities of data around us, it's increasingly clear that relying on full-text search engines is not a long-term solution. This problem is especially apparent in the mobile world, where users have little time for sifting through page after page of data looking for the one thing they're interested in (and paying by the minute or by the byte for the privilege). Mobile data service customers want the information that's most relevant to them, and they want it now. That usage profile is going to continue to expand as information technology becomes more appliance-like.

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