The impact of XML/RDF on digital libraries

Kyle Banerjee kyle.banerjee at
Thu Feb 21 14:18:44 EST 2002

> > Where exactly is RDF's payoff?
> >
> Well, this may be a cop-out, but I think the answer really depends on your
> collection and audience........

    I think this sums it up nicely, but I'd add one more thing -- it depends
on what you do with it. RDF is just a tool. Many folks have used nothing
more than a feather dipped in ink to record information that profoundly
influences the arts and the sciences. On the other hand, most people
equipped with a 2.2GHz PC with 1024MB RDRAM, 120GB HD, and T1 connection to
the Internet, countless aggregator databases, and highly sophisticated word
processors have trouble writing anything worth reading.

    RDF does nothing more than encapsulate information. As such, what it
achieves depends on what you put in the container, and how you make that
content available. I'm pretty sure that anything you can do with RDF could
also be achieved without it. For that reason, I wouldn't use it unless it
seemed to be the best tool for the job (IMHO, it usually will be overkill).
To the extent that RDF is a universal format, the same could be said about
any format with a transparent structure such all markup languages, delimited
text, or whatever. If you need to move data from one system to another,
you'll need programming skills no matter what.


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