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O'Reilly Labs: RDF For All of Our Books, Plus Bookworm Ebook Reader

There’s more details on the Labs blog, but timed with our Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, we’ve opened up RDF metadata for all of our books, and have also brought the open source Bookworm ebook reader into O’Reilly Labs. It’s a great way to read any of our ebooks (more than 400 are now available as ebook bundles from oreilly.com) online and from a mobile phone:

The experimental “O’Reilly Product Metadata Interface” (OPMI) exposes RDF for all of O’Reilly’s titles, organized by ISBN. Here’s a snippet of the RDF metadata for iPhone: The Missing Manual, 2e from the OPMI at http://opmi.labs.oreilly.com/product/9780596521677:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">
  <om:Product xmlns:om="http://purl.oreilly.com/ns/meta/" 
    <dc:isFormatOf rdf:resource="urn:x-domain:oreilly.com:product:955988693.IP"/>
      <rdf:Seq rdf:ID="creator">
        <rdf:li rdf:resource="urn:x-domain:oreilly.com:agent:pdb:350"/>
    <dc:rightsHolder>David Pogue</dc:rightsHolder>
    <dc:description>The new iPhone 3G is here, and bestselling author David Pogue
      is back with a thoroughly updated edition of &lt;em&gt;iPhone: The Missing
      Manual&lt;/em&gt;. With its faster downloads, touch-screen iPod, and best-ever
      mobile Web browser, the new affordable iPhone is packed with possibilities.
      But without an objective guide like this one, you'll never unlock all it can
      do for you. Each custom designed page helps you accomplish specific tasks for
      everything from web browsing, to new apps, to watching videos.</dc:description>
    <dc:extent>376 pages</dc:extent>
    <dc:type rdf:resource="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/PhysicalObject"/>
    <dc:format>6 x 9 in</dc:format>

The URLs are structured by ISBN13. Once you have the ISBN13 for an O’Reilly book, you can get the full metadata via HTTP request to:


To get you started, here’s direct links to the public RDF for our current top-5 bestsellers:

You can also follow @oreillylabs on twitter.

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  • Don Bailey

    This is the first Radar article i have encountered that I can’t understand. Too much jargon, not enough English. I’ve read it several times, still don’t know what it is about. @#$%&!!!

  • http://kfahlgren.com/blog Keith Fahlgren

    @don bailey:

    Here are the definitions of the “Jargon” I saw:
    * RDF: A data model for metadata http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Description_Framework
    * OPMI: “O’Reilly Product Metadata Interface”
    * ISBN: “The International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, is a unique, numeric[1] commercial book identifier” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISBN
    * HTTP: Protocol used under the hood for retrieving resources (“pages”) over the web http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP

    Hope that helps clarify.

  • http://stormyscorner.com Stormy

    There’s complimentary post on how to use it as a reader here:

  • http://bexhuff.com bex

    Nice… but I’m highly skeptical that RDF will ever catch on. I’d lay higher odds that Esperanto would make a roaring comeback.

  • http://www.dancingbison.com Vasudev Ram

    Cool and useful experiment – thanks.

    - Vasudev

  • http://kfahlgren.com/blog Keith Fahlgren

    @bex: I probably agree with you about the ability of RDF to catch on as a thing per-se, but happily as XML we can just use normal libraries. See O’Reilly Product Metadata Interface (OPMI) Usage At Tweet Length for an example of using the OPMI with very little code.