RDF can be used by libraries to share information or even whole collections online, however there are still only a handful of applications that incorporate RDF at their heart and none of these are using the full potential of the Semantic Web.

RDF Applications

RDF is the Semantic Web's equivalent of the Web's HTML. Its main characteristic is the ability to ascribe meaning to data. It is a W3C standard for modeling and sharing distributed knowledge.

Two of the more accessible RDF applications that are dedicated also to libraries are Twine and Talis.


Twine uses triples to access information about any given subject. By building on the foundational technologies of the RDF, it provides an open platform for organizing, sharing and discovering information. RDF statements form a graph of arcs and nodes, and data input connects to people, places, language and other pieces of information.

As an example, the above graph shows that there is not only a book about a certain author, but there is also a comment linked to the book. Both the book and the comment were made by a user. As more books are authored by the same author or published by the same publisher, these objects continue to link together. Twine uses the data and properties in the graph to link related information, allowing users to search along different dimensions.


UK based Talis on the other side, has built a platform and applications for library management. They use algorithmic approaches for generating URIs from textual data, operate the algorithmic matching of author names and establish how RDF generated from records may be linked to other data sources on the Web.

The Talis Platform enables development and deployment of Semantic Web applications that connect and integrate data across organizations and the World Wide Web. At the moment it is being used only for their proprietary applications dedicated to libraries or by organizations involved in their developer programme.


For further information:
Twine - (www.twine.com)
Talis - (www.talis.com)