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Syndication and Metadata

by Edd Dumbill -- 2000/06/04

RSS is probably the best known metadata format around. RDF is probably one of the least understood. In this essay, published on my O'Reilly Network weblog, I argue that the next generation of RSS should be based on RDF.

RDF can be seen as the HTML for data on the Web -- it's a pot where you can throw a bunch of data and computers can then do useful things with it. In the same way HTML is a freeform mode of expression for content, which humans can then do useful things with.

Like some W3C specs, though, RDF is rather difficult to understand and surrounded by a lot of academic talk and complicated discussion. The Web would be a much richer place if just some basic uses of RDF escaped. RSS would be a great starting point.