Transitioning from XML to RDF: Considerations for an effective move towards Linked Data and the Semantic Web

Juliet L. Hardesty


Metadata, particularly within the academic library setting, is often expressed in eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and managed with XML tools, technologies, and workflows. Managing a library’s metadata currently takes on a greater level of complexity as libraries are increasingly adopting the Resource Description Framework (RDF). Semantic Web initiatives are surfacing in the library context with experiments in publishing metadata as Linked Data sets and also with development efforts such as BIBFRAME and the Fedora 4 Digital Repository incorporating RDF. Use cases show that transitions into RDF are occurring in both XML standards and in libraries with metadata encoded in XML. It is vital to understand that transitioning from XML to RDF requires a shift in perspective from replicating structures in XML to defining meaningful relationships in RDF. Establishing coordination and communication among these efforts will help as more libraries move to use RDF, produce Linked Data, and approach the Semantic Web.

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