[foaf-protocols] revisiting FOAF project goals

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Fri Jun 19 13:59:41 CEST 2009

I haven't explicitly written about goals for this project since 2000, 
when we called it RDFWeb (and before that RDFWebRing).

That original document is here, 
http://www.foaf-project.org/original-intro (with one major change, I put 
the new name everywhere that it used to say RDFWeb).

Here's what the project website said about goals in mid 2000:


We want a better way of keeping track of the scattered fragments of data 
currently represented in the Web.

We want to be able to find documents in the Web based on their 
properties and inter-relationships; we want to be able to find 
information about people based on their publications, employment 
details, group membership and declared interests. We want to be able to 
share annotations, ratings, bookmarks and arbitrary useful data 
fragments using some common infrastructure. We want a Web search system 
that's more like a database and less like a lucky dip. We need it to be 
be distributed, decentralised, and content-neutral.

FOAF, if successful, should help the Web do the sorts of things that are 
currently the proprietary offering of centralised services.

RDF seems to offer a lot of promise in this area. While RDF is defined 
in terms of a rather abstract information model, our needs are rather 
practical. We want to be able to ask the Web sensible questions and 
common kinds of thing (documents, organisations, people) and get back 
sensible results.

     * "Find me today's web page recommendations made by people who work 
for Medical organisations".
     * "Find me recent publications by people I've co-authored documents 
     * "Show me critiques of this web page, and the home pages of the 
author of that critique"
     * etc...

All this sounds a bit ambitious (and it is), but we think we've a 
reasonable sense of how to build a linked information system with these 
capabilities. """

As I look at getting a revised statement of goals written, I'd love to 
hear more about what folk on the FOAF mailing lists find interesting, 
compelling or intriguing. What motivates you to spend time working with 
FOAF and RDF and linked data? Why do you care? How did you end up on 
this mailing list, or interested in RDF and Semantic Web?

Am interested in any and all responses to this, on-list, or offlist, 
blogged or emailed.

Thanks for your thoughts!



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