GRDDL. What is it? Why the long name? It does something very specific that requires a long name to describe it. Etymology of biological names includes examples of the same phenomenon in a different discipline. I starting writing on this weblog mainly as a way to regularly excercise my literary expression, so (to that end) I'm going to try to explain GRDDL in as few words as I can while simultaneously embelishing.
It is a language (or dialect) translator. It Gleans (gathers or harvests) Resource Descriptions. Resource Descriptions can be thought to refer to the use of constructs in Knowledge Representation. These constructs are often used to make assertions about things in sentence form - from which additional knowledge can be infered. However, it is also the 'Resource Description' in RDF (no coincidence there). RDF is the target dialect. GRDDL acts as an intelligent agent (more on this later) that performs translations from specific (XML) vocabularies, or Dialects of Languages to abstract RDF syntax.
Various languages can be used but there is a natural emphasis on a language (XSLT) with a native ability to process XML.
GRDDL is an XML & RDF formalism in what I think is a hidden pearl of web architecture: a well-engineered environment for distributed processing by intelligent agents. It's primarily the well-engineered nature of web architecture that lends the neccessary autonomy that intelligent agents require. Though hidden, there is much relevance with contemporaries, predecessors, and distant cousins:
It earns its keep mostly with small, well-designed XML formats. As a host language for XSLT it sets out to be (perhaps) a bridge across the great blue and red divide of XML & RDF. To quote a common parlance: watch this space.