The Day after Freebase went RDF
So what’s been happening on the blogosphere after John Giannandrea’s keynote at ISWC and the revelation that Freebase now produces Linked Data from an RDF service…
Tetherless World sums up the Freebase facts (e.g. 156,000,000 assertions made; 1370 published types; 75 domains; graph model, identity, web based) and further points out that ontology creation “is a social process, and both freebase and semantic wiki are tools that enable users to create ontological vocabulary without worrying too much on building a comprehensive ontology.”
Inkdroid notes that the RDF service release “is important news because Freebase is an active community of content creators, creating rich data-centric descriptions with a wiki style interface, fancy data loaders, and useful machine APIs.” This is followed up by a quick and handy tutorial how you can get machine readable data back from freebase using a URI with Freebase. Conclusion:
So why is this important? Because following your nose in HTML is what enabled companies like Lycos, AltaVista, Yahoo and Google to be born. It allowed for agents to be able to crawl the web of documents and build indexes of the data to allow people to find what they want (hopefully). Being able to link data in this way allows us to harvest data assets across organizational boundaries and merge them together. It’s early days still, but seeing an organization like Freebase get it is pretty exciting.
Yves Raimond was the first to wonder on the public W3C LOD mailinglist: “now, to see whether it links to other datasets :-)” – the idea of having linked data without the linkage would indeed seem like love’s labour lost. Semantic Focus / James Simmons seconds: “One downside is the data doesn’t appear to link to external resources, in a sense walling itself in. It should be trivial to link the topics that came from Wikipedia back to Wikipedia as well as DBpedia (which would be killer, by the way).” This is followed up a later post, where James expresses concerns regarding the relationship DBpedia / Freebase: “Freebase may see a drop in userbase growth and participation if it becomes a mirror of DBpedia (or vice-versa) and the popularity once garnered by one project may shift towards the other, or away entirely.”
More News / Andrew Newman puts the Freebase RDF service release in context with Cathrin Weiss’ “250 million triples on your iphone” submission, iMoCo, to the Billion triples challenges, also DBpedia and Semaplorer, developed at the University of Koblenz:
DBPedia stood out because it was the only one that allowed you to write data to the Semantic Web rather than just read the carefully prepared triples. For a similar reason I though SemaPlorer was good because they tried to do more than just the standard triples but went that extra bit further by making it more generic like integrating flickr. But they were all excellent, all of them showing what you get with a billion or more triples and inferencing.
That combined with the guys at Freebase making all of their data available as RDF and it was a big day for the Semantic Web.
ARQtick / AndyS plays a bit with the Blade Runner example cited by Freebase, e.g. takes a look at the graph, looks for interesting properties and extracts author names
N.B. If you want to follow ARQtick’s example: use the Linked Data browser plugin Tabulator or go to the Marbles site to view the RDF – without a data browser you’ll be redirected to the HTML page. You will also need it to make sense of rdf.freebase.com.