An HTTP-Based Versioning Mechanism for Linked Data

Herbert Van de Sompel, Robert Sanderson, Michael L. Nelson, Lyudmila L. Balakireva, Harihar Shankar, Scott Ainsworth


Dereferencing a URI returns a representation of the current state of the resource identified by that URI. But, on the Web representations of prior states of a resource are also available, for example, as resource versions in Content Management Systems or archival resources in Web Archives such as the Internet Archive. This paper introduces a resource versioning mechanism that is fully based on HTTP and uses datetime as a global version indicator. The approach allows "follow your nose" style navigation both from the current time-generic resource to associated time-specific version resources as well as among version resources. The proposed versioning mechanism is congruent with the Architecture of the World Wide Web, and is based on the Memento framework that extends HTTP with transparent content negotiation in the datetime dimension. The paper shows how the versioning approach applies to Linked Data, and by means of a demonstrator built for DBpedia, it also illustrates how it can be used to conduct a time-series analysis across versions of Linked Data descriptions.


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