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2 The Linked Data Paradigm

We briefly introduce the basic principles of Linked Data (cf. Sect. 2 from [4]). The term Linked Data refers to a set of best practices for publishing and interlinking structured data on the Web. These best practices were introduced by Tim Berners-Lee in his Web architecture note Linked Data [1] and have become known as the Linked Data principles. These principles are:

Use URIs as names for things.

Use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names.

When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information, using the standards (RDF, SPARQL).

Include links to other URIs, so that they can discover more things.

The basic idea of Linked Data is to apply the general architecture of the World Wide Web [6] to the task of sharing structured data on global scale. The Document Web is built on the idea of setting hyperlinks between Web documents that may reside on different Web servers. It is built on a small set of simple standards: Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) and their extension Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs) as globally unique identification mechanism [2], the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as universal access mechanism [3], and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) as a widely used content format [5]. Linked Data builds directly on Web architecture and applies this architecture to the task of sharing data on global scale.

2.1 Resource Identification with IRIs

To publish data on the Web, the data items in a domain of interest must first be identified. These are the things whose properties and relationships will be described in the data, and may include Web documents as well as real-world entities and abstract concepts. As Linked Data builds directly on Web architecture, the Web architecture term resource is used to refer to these things of interest, which are in turn identified by HTTP URIs. Linked Data uses only HTTP URIs, avoiding other URI schemes such as URNs [8] and DOIs[2]. The structure of HTTP URIs looks as follows:


A URI for identifying Shakespeare's 'Othello', for example, could look as follows:

HTTP URIs provide a simple way to create globally unique names in a decentralized fashion, as every owner of a domain name or delegate of the domain name owner may create new URI references. They serve not just as a name but also as a means of accessing information describing the identified entity.

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  • [2]
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