SPARQL for a Web of Linked Data: Semantics and Computability

Presented at: 9th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC2012)

by Olaf Hartig

The World Wide Web currently evolves into a Web of Linked Data where content providers publish and link data as they have done with hypertext for the last 20 years. While the declarative query language SPARQL is the de facto for querying a-priory defined sets of data from the Web, no language exists for querying the Web of Linked Data itself. However, it seems natural to ask whether SPARQL is also suitable for such a purpose. In this paper we formally investigate the applicability of SPARQL as a query language for Linked Data on the Web. In particular, we study two query models: 1) a full-Web semantics where the scope of a query is the complete set of Linked Data on the Web and 2) a family of reachability-based semantics which restrict the scope to data that is reachable by traversing certain data links. For both models we discuss properties such as monotonicity and computability as well as the implications of querying a Web that is infinitely large due to data generating servers.

Keywords: Linked Data, SPARQL, computability, query semantics, theory

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