Sharing Data (Export RDF)
Profiles Research Networking Software is a Semantic Web application, which means
its content can be read and understood by other computer programs. This enables
the data in profiles, such as addresses and publications, to be shared with other
institutions and appear on other websites. If you click the "Export RDF" link on
the left sidebar of a profile page, you can see what computer programs see when
visiting a profile. The section below describes the technical details for building
a computer program that can export data from Profiles Research Networking Software.
As a Semantic Web application, Profiles Research Networking Software uses the Resource
Description Framework (RDF) data model. In RDF, every entity (e.g., person, publication,
concept) is given a unique URI. (A URI is similar to a URL that you would enter
into a web browser.) Entities are linked together using "triples" that contain three
URIs--a subject, predicate, and object. For example, the URI of a Person can be
connected to the URI of a Concept through a predicate URI of hasResearchArea. Profiles
Research Networking Software contains millions of URIs and triples. Semantic Web
applications use an ontology, which describes the classes and properties used to
define entities and link them together. Profiles Research Networking Software uses
the VIVO Ontology, which was developed as part of an NIH-funded grant to be a standard
for academic and research institutions. A growing number of sites around the world
are adopting research networking platforms that use the VIVO Ontology. Because RDF
can link different triple-stores that use the same ontology, software developers
are able to create tools that span multiple institutions and data sources. When
RDF data is shared with the public, as it is in Profiles Research Networking Software,
it is called Linked Open Data (LOD).
There are four types of application programming interfaces (APIs) in Profiles Research
- RDF crawl. Because Profiles Research Networking Software is a Semantic Web application,
every profile has both an HTML page and a corresponding RDF document, which contains
the data for that page in RDF/XML format. Web crawlers can follow the links embedded
within the RDF/XML to access additional content.
- SPARQL endpoint. SPARQL is a programming language that enables arbitrary queries
against RDF data. This provides the most flexibility in accessing data; however,
the downsides are the complexity in coding SPARQL queries and performance. In general,
the XML Search API (see below) is better to use than SPARQL.
- XML Search API. This is a web service that provides support for the most common
types of queries. It is designed to be easier to use and to offer better performance
than SPARQL, but at the expense of fewer options. It enables full-text search across
all entity types, faceting, pagination, and sorting options. The request message
to the web service is in XML format, but the output is in RDF/XML format.
Old XML based web services. This provides backwards compatibility for institutions
that built applications using the older version of Profiles Research Networking
Software. These web services do not take advantage of many of the new features of
Profiles Research Networking Software. Users are encouraged to switch to one of
the new APIs.
For more information about the APIs, please see the documentation and example files.