FOAF - Friend of a Friend

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The FoaF Explorer presents information in a "human-readable" format
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  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, July 2018


See also Data science portal | Dublin Core | Ontologies | Semantic search | Semantic web | Sir Tim Berners-Lee | Web 3.0

Friend of a friend is a machine-readable ontology describing people, the links between them and the many different things that interest them. Anyone can use FOAF to describe themselves. FOAF allows groups of people to describe social networks without the need for a centralized database. As a descriptive vocabulary, FOAF uses the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL). Computers use FOAF profiles to find, for example, people working in Europe or list people in your professional network. This is achieved through defining relationships between friends and the use of unique identifiers (e.g. e-mail addresses, websites or blogs), other facts and inter-relationships. The FOAF project, which extends the vocabulary of profiles, is the first semantic application combining RDF with the 'social web'.

Conceptually, the semantic web aims to provide the tools for extensible, flexible standards of description and disambiguation between documents and people. Semantic web technology enables the creation of metadata and associated vocabularies. The semantic web is positioned to make all social web sites interoperable. The idea is that applying semantic web frameworks including SIOC (Semantically Interlinked Online Communities) and FOAF to the social grid will result in a more socially semantic web.

In the final assessment, FOAF will help to describe people and their links to social networks in the cloud i.e. without the need for a centralized database. Sir Tim Berners-Lee has defined the semantic web as a Giant Global Graph where relationships between people in a network are more important (and transcend) the networks themselves or documents produced by them. He considered the GGG to be on equal grounds with the semantic web stating that "I express my network in a FOAF file, and that is a start of the revolution."

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