Where can I learn about the semantic web?

When I first started taking an interest in semantic web technologies, I sought out places with quality information and opinion. Too often I found there was no up-to-date 'directory' listing the thought leaders in the field. Many information outlets were associated with specific products rather than design principles or standards. That made the initial learning process painful.

For the first question in SemanticOverflow I'd like your thoughts on where the richest sources of impartial semantic web wisdom and background are to be found. Where should I go, if I'm a beginner, to best help me ascend the semantic web learning curve? What about if I've grokked the fundamentals and want to dig deeper? How do I become a semantic web ninja?


The following list shows the links provided so far.

Information Sites

  1. W3C Primer
  2. esw.w3.org/topic/
  3. www.rdfabout.com/
  4. www.w3.org/2001/sw/
  5. www.w3.org/DesignIssues/
  6. videolectures.net/Top/Computer_Science/Semantic_Web/
  7. www.semanticschool.com/ (Polish, maybe English in future)
  8. semanticweb.com/
  9. Semantic University
  10. Lee Feigenbaum's tutorials and overview
  11. Aaron Swartz's RDF Primer Primer
  12. linkeddata.org guides and tutorials
  13. co-ode guide to ontology development
  14. Talis' - HowTo and Getting Started guides
  15. Ontolog Forum
  16. Semantic web at Reddit
  17. semanticweb.org
  18. SemanticUniverse.com Semantic Technology Conference site.
  19. linkeddatatools.com Semantic Web Basics
  20. semanticfuture.net Semantic Future (Wiki + forum), mostly Russian
  21. Semantic Web on SlideShare


  1. Jeni Tennison
  2. Ivan Herman
  3. Kingsley Idehen
  4. Michael Hausenblas
  5. Henry Story
  6. Talis' Nodalities Blog
  7. planetrdf.com - Blog Aggregator

Books (see also: W3C List)

  1. Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist - Allemang & Hendler
  2. Linked Data Patterns - Dodds & Davis
  3. Programming the Semantic Web - Segaran, Evans, Taylor
  4. foundations of semantic web technologies - Hitzler, Krötzsch, Rudolph.
  5. Linked Data: Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space - Tom Heath, Christian Bizer
  6. Learning SPARQL - DuCharme


  1. The Semantic Web - Berners-Lee, Hendler, Lassila (seminal vision paper)
  2. Linked Data & The Semantic Web Standards - Hogan (academic overview)

Miscellaneous Pages

  1. The Pedantic Web - USENET group on web standards and creating an 'interoperable web of data'
  2. BBC's skim-read introduction to Semantic Web/Linked Data
  3. Linked Data Guide for Newbies.

Good Answers Elsewhere (on this site)

  1. From What can I do to make myself semantic web literate
1 Like

For an in-depth primer, I recommend the book "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist" by Allemang & Hendler. It explains the concepts well and has lots of practical examples.

For the RDF component of the semantic web, if you're looking to go in deeper, I've written two guides at http://www.rdfabout.com which I've been told are quite good. :-) The site also links to all of the relevant standards at the W3C.

(Sorry for two posts. SO only allows one link per post for new users....)

My 2 cents...

Choose a library written in your favorite language and read the source code, join their mailing list, start answering questions and make new interesting ones yourself, contribute patches and report bugs if you find one.

Forget about: trees, XML, don't hurt yourself with RDF/XML + XSLT and think "graphs".

Read the recommendations from W3C (no, not the one about RDF/XML).

"We Learn... 10% of what we read 20% of what we hear 30% of what we see 50% of what we see and hear 70% of what we discuss 80% of what we experience 95% of what we teach others." -- William Glasser

So, in theory you should teach... but, please, no need to become a University professor (no offence!)... you can just share your experience. :-)

Have fun!

stackoverflow has some decent questions answered around Semantic Web..

I have started a blog called "Szkola Web 3.0" at http://www.semanticschool.com/

It provides daily, short articles about the Semantic Web and news from the Web 3.0 world - I have started at the very basic level - and have recently covered OWL Lite. Will announce SemanticOverflow today :D

At the moment the blog is dedicated for the Polish audience only, but I am looking for people interested in providing side by side articles in other languages as well.

For people on reddit, there is a semantic web-subreddit. We are a small group (~700 subscribers, started a year ago), but (I like to think that) the links are of decent quality.

I personally try to post links to the "less talking, more showing/coding" kind of articles, if that is your thing.

We publish a lot of howto and getting started type materials on our developer blog: http://blogs.talis.com/n2

Linked data: http://linkeddata.org/guides-and-tutorials

Ontology Development: http://www.co-ode.org/

The ESW Wiki is one central place for practical information from the Linked Open Data perspective. (But what does ESW stand for? Mystery.)

(uggh! breaking this into multiple answers because of the link limit - sorry!)

I've got a couple of tutorials that give an introduction to many of the Semantic Web technologies: