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Practical RDF by Shelley Powers

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Chapter 5. Important Concepts from the W3C RDF Vocabulary/Schema

When discussing the Resource Description Framework (RDF) specification, we’re really talking about two different specifications—a Syntax Specification and a Schema Specification. As described in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, the Syntax Specification shows how RDF constructs relate to each other and how they can be diagrammed in XML. For instance, elements such as rdf:type and pstcn:bio are used to describe a specific resource, providing information such as the resource’s type and the author of the resource. The different namespace prefixes associated with each element (such as rdf: and pstcn:) represent the schema that particular element is defined within.

In the context of RDF/XML, a vocabulary or schema is a rules-based dictionary that defines the elements of importance to a domain and then describes how these elements relate to one another. It provides a type system that can then be used by domain owners to create RDF/XML vocabularies for their particular domains. For example, the pstcn:bio element is from a custom vocabulary created for use with this book while the rdf:type element is from the RDF vocabulary. These are different vocabularies and have different vocabulary owners, but both follow rules defined within the RDF Vocabulary Description Language 1.0: RDF Schema.

However, before getting into the details of the RDF Schema, consider the following: if RDF is a way of describing data, then the RDF Schema can be considered ...

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