Whenever I find myself recommending a book more than two or three times, it’s easier to just put a link here and point people at it. It’s definitely time to do that for Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist. It’s the second “you must read this” book recommended to me by Parity CEO Paul Trevithick (the last one was Made to Stick, which I also blogged about).
At last week’s Internet Identity Workshop I must have told a dozen people to read this book. It’s not that it’s filled with blazing insights about a notoriously inaccessible topic. It’s rather that the book patiently and carefully explains the real basics of RDF, RDFS, OWL, and the SemWeb using everyday examples that working developers and architects can wrap their heads around. It’s the most example-intensive technical book I’ve ever read, and when it comes to the SemWeb, I’m convinced that’s the right approach.
And one thing is for sure: you can’t read this book without coming away with a much deeper understanding of the power of the concept of inference, especially as it relates to the SemWeb.
I especially recommend this book to anyone interested in XRI and XDI — the former because one of of the strongest emerging use cases for XRI is sharing semantics across contexts, and the latter because XDI is a semantic protocol that uses XRIs to encode RDF statements (some of which can as filled with inferences as natural language statements).
Net net: if you’ve always wanted to understand the SemWeb but been afraid to try, treat yourself to this geek Christmas present.