n. (alternative form of FOAF English)
- redirect FOAF (ontology)
FOAF (an acronym of Friend of a friend) is a machine-readable ontology describing persons, their activities and their relations to other people and objects. Anyone can use FOAF to describe themself. FOAF allows groups of people to describe social networks without the need for a centralised database.
FOAF is a descriptive vocabulary expressed using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). Computers may use these FOAF profiles to find, for example, all people living in Europe, or to list all people both you and a friend of yours know. This is accomplished by defining relationships between people. Each profile has a unique identifier (such as the person's e-mail addresses, a Jabber ID, or a URI of the homepage or weblog of the person), which is used when defining these relationships.
The FOAF project, which defines and extends the vocabulary of a FOAF profile, was started in 2000 by Libby Miller and Dan Brickley. It can be considered the first Social Semantic Web application, in that it combines RDF technology with 'Social Web' concerns.
Tim Berners-Lee, in a 2007 essay, redefined the Semantic web concept into the Giant Global Graph, where relationships transcend networks and documents. He considers the GGG to be on equal ground with the Internet and the World Wide Web, stating that "I express my network in a FOAF file, and that is a start of the revolution."