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RDF/A - Interoperable Metadata for XHTML

  • Ben Adida, MIT, USA

Track: Developers

RDF/A is a new mechanism for embedding RDF in XHTML, using minimal XHTML schema extensions. RDF/A inherits the modular design properties of RDF: metadata publishers can independently create their own vocabularies, extend others, and create equivalences between vocabularies ex-post-facto. In addition, RDF/A bridges the clickable and semantic webs with: 1) Data Reuse: XHTML rendered data can be reused to express RDF triples, and 2) Metadata Self-Containment: the metadata is contained within the specific HTML elements it pertains to, allowing client applications to keep the metadata closely tied to the HTML itself. In this talk, we present the RDF/A syntax, show some examples, and specifically highlight the above two properties of RDF/A: Data Reuse and Metadata Self-Containment. We show how RDF/A provides the interoperable metadata power of RDF while giving XHTML authors a clear, progressive path for semantically marking up their renderable XHTML. In the process, we compare RDF/A with other XHTML metadata techniques, including microformats. We conclude with an important observation: RDF/A provides "semantic loose coupling." Client applications can pick up the structure they understand, while simply rendering the rest as XHTML. For example, a newsfeed containing calendar events can easily be expressed as RDF/A. A web browser can render it. An RDF/A news-reader can do one better and notify the user of new items. An RDF/A newsreader+calendar can do even better by also automatically adding the events to the user's calendar. All from the same XHTML file.

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