Re: A few thoughts on RDF-star, Reification, and Labeled Property Graphs

Making an observation here:

If you have an :S :p :O model where :S and :O are (hypothetical) sets (of
anything, including graphs), this can be expressed as :s rdf:member :S, :o
rdf:member :O , which is the definition of a hypergraph.  (I discuss this
at length in

RDF by itself does not support hypergraphs, but RDF *with* the
interpretation that :S and :O are pointers to sets ( in various ways)
certainly does support hypergraphs.

This extends beyond reification; it's just that the reification operator
has introduced hypergraphs.

I'd also argue that we're actually not talking about RDF here (star or
otherwise) but Turtle. RDF doesn't care - it can represent both kinds of
structures just fine, so long as you allow for the notion that you're going
to be dealing with pointers to sets.

I'd also argue that the RDF vs LPG argument is a bit of a red herring. You
can represent an LPG (and let's be honest, call it Neo4J) readily in RDF
without the syntact sugar:

(Basic Turtle here)
:Joe :married :Alice .
:r1 rdf:subject :Joe .
:r1 rdf:predicate :married .
:r1 rdf:object :Alice .
:r1 :dateStart "2014-06-04"^^xsd:date .
:r1 :dateEnd "2020-12-01"^^xsd:date .
:r1 a MaritalRelationship: .

:Joe :married :Jane .
:r2 rdf:subject :Joe .
:r2 rdf:predicate :married .
:r2 rdf:object :Jane .
:r2 :dateStart "2021-03-02"^^xsd:date .
:r2 :dataEnd "2024-04-01"^^xsd:date .
:r2 a MaritalRelationship: .

That doesn't change regardless of the syntactical sugar. If I want to
define a hypergraph, this could be done as:
:r1 rdf:member :R .
:r2 rdf:member :R .
:R owl:sameAs :JoeMarriages .

SPARQL then sees this as:
?r rdf:member :R.
?r rdf:subject ?rs.

I think the biggest problem is that we have no native set operator in
Turtle. Let's say we have an operator like [[ ]] which represents a set,

[[<<:Joe :married :Alice>> | :dateStart "2014-06-04"; dateEnd "2020-12-01" |
<<:Joe :married :Jane>> | :dateStart "2021-03-02"; dateEnd "2024-04-01"|
]]  :listOf :JoesMarriages .

becomes feasible.

I agree with Peter that LPGs should be backwards compatible with Turtle
(you can express an LPG in Turtle), but that Turtle should not be limited
by where LPGs are.

*Kurt Cagle*
Editor in Chief
The Cagle Report
443-837-8725 <,%2B14438378725>

On Tue, Apr 9, 2024 at 11:03 AM Thompson, Bryan <> wrote:

> One would do this because the future relevance of RDF is at stake.  It
> would be an extreme disservice to RDF to introduce a more conceptually
> complicated model of RDF Reification, and implicit grouping via the same
> identifier is a more conceptually complicated model.  I have been
> involved in this via RDF-star since 2012 when I got Olaf interested in this
> problem and via "Reification Done Right" since 2008 and via other
> activities back to 1999 with a critique of the semantic web as being unable
> to handle uncertain and messy data, which is what we have in the real world.
> To my thinking, the conceptual difficulties of RDF reification have been a
> major reason why LPG had an opportunity in the graph standards market when
> we had solid detailed existing standards.  LPG makes edge properties
> simple.  And edge properties are a critical -- the number one critical --
> use case for RDF Reification.  There are to be certain other valuable use
> cases, but this is frankly table stakes for graph standards.  RDF has a
> *lot* of other benefits, but it falls down on the handling of edge
> properties.
> To me, this is a question of basic relevance of RDF to the future.
> Getting this wrong will slam the door closed on RDF.  Getting it right will
> make it possible to breath continued and new life into RDF.
> The issue for uptake and use by the broad graph community is not about
> having the "more capable model".  What RDF needs is a model which provides
> a clear, effective and efficient semantics for edge properties and ...
> extending that ... for statements about statements.
> Bryan
> ------------------------------
> *From:* James Anderson <>
> *Sent:* Monday, April 8, 2024 4:49:05 PM
> *To:* RDF-star Working Group
> *Cc:* Lassila, Ora; Thompson, Bryan; Bebee, Brad; Schmidt, Michael;
> Hartig, Olaf; Williams, Gregory
> *Subject:* RE: [EXTERNAL] A few thoughts on RDF-star, Reification, and
> Labeled Property Graphs
> CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do not
> click links or open attachments unless you can confirm the sender and know
> the content is safe.
> good morning;
> > On 8. Apr 2024, at 23:42, Lassila, Ora <> wrote:
> >
> > The Amazon Neptune team is committed to lowering the barriers to the
> adoption of graph databases and graph-based computing. Our customers
> benefit when we reduce the conceptual and technological gap between RDF
> graphs and Labeled Property Graphs (LPGs). Over the last several years we
> have seen LPGs increase their popularity thanks to easy-to-understand and
> easy-to-use features, even when RDF offers more sophisticated features such
> as (for example) easy graph merging, federated queries, and expressive
> schema languages. The importance and relevance of interoperability between
> RDF and LPG was established several years ago at the W3C workshop on Web
> Standardization for Graph Data (Creating Bridges: RDF, Property Graph and
> SQL) [1]. While its origins are much older, the RDF-star Community Group
> was established in the wake of this event. We believe that improving the
> ability for RDF and LPG graphs to interoperate will benefit the entire
> graph community.
> >
> > As we see it, the most critical outcomes of the work of the RDF-star
> working group should include:
> >     • Efficient RDF support for “edge properties”, including the ability
> to have different property sets for otherwise identical edges (LPGs do not
> have the restriction RDF has where triples are unique in a graph).
> >     • Simple and clear RDF support for statements about statements
> (supporting provenance mechanisms and other identified use cases).
> >     • Laying the groundwork for interoperability “in the data” between
> RDF and LPG languages (e.g., a single database that can expose both LPG and
> RDF based query languages over the same data).
> this third outcome, while valuable, is not one of the chartered tasks.
> is it the intent of this note to suggest that the charter should be
> extended?
> >  The alignment of features and capabilities between RDF and LPGs is
> possible if there are no fundamental incompatibilities between the two
> graph models. The RDF-star Working Group’s original goal, an easy mechanism
> for making “statements about statements”, would make the gap between the
> two models significantly smaller; statements about statements are a feature
> similar to “edge properties” in LPGs, the lack of which in RDF we often
> hear cited as the reason users choose LPGs. On the other hand, the current
> proposal the WG is entertaining, the “single reifier multiple triples”
> model, has no clear counterpart in LPGs, renders the two graph models even
> more different than they are today, adds significant complexity (there are
> more expressive alternatives with simpler semantics), and makes it even
> more difficult to understand RDF reification rather than offering a
> conceptually simple framework.
> >
> > Limiting reifiers to single statements – and classifying scenarios with
> a single reifier for multiple statements as “non-well formed” – will bring
> the greatest benefit to the graph community at large. On the other hand,
> allowing a single reifier for multiple statements will make it very
> difficult to align the LPG and RDF models. Please see the examples below.
> this suggests to restrict the more capable model to conform with the
> limitations of the less capable model, not as a matter of usage or a
> conventional profile, but as a required characteristic.
> why would one do this?
> this discussion conflates two aspects of the model:
> - the cardinality of the identified statements
> - the cardinality of the annotations on the identified entity
> it should be possible to consider them independently.
> there is nothing in the examples or commentary below which substantiates
> any argument beyond that a profile would be expeditious.
> >
> > We strongly believe that the continued relevance of RDF depends on
> establishing interoperability with LPGs. As stated above, RDF brings some
> tremendous advantages, and we are committed to bringing these advantages to
> the community of LPG users as well. We believe that this reflects the
> spirit of the W3C workshop on Web Standardization for Graph Data and
> resonates with inputs from some other members of the working group.
> >
> > [1]
> >  Examples:
> >
> > # (A) An LPG edge with a single edge property.
> > (s) - [p {ep: 1}] → (o)
> >
> > # (B) An interpretation of that in an SPOI model (where I is a statement
> identifier).
> > # The OneGraph model is based on such SPOI tuples.
> > s p o :sid1
> > :sid1 ep 1 :sid2
> >
> > # (C) An RDF-star expression consisting of an asserted triple and a
> statement about
> > # that.
> > :s :p :o {| :ep 1 |} # with an anonymous identifier for the (s p o)
> statement.
> >
> > # (D) The RDF interpretation of that RDF-star expression.
> > :s :p :o . # The asserted triple.
> > _:b rdf:reifies <<( :s :p :o )>> . # A reifier for that triple.
> > _:b :ep 1 . # Using that reifier to make an assertion about a triple
> occurrence.
> >
> > # Note that the LPG example (A), the SPOI interpretation (B), and the
> RDF model (D)
> > # can be handled as exactly the same data within possible database
> implementations
> > # such as proposed by Souri or by a OneGraph implementation.  The case
> where _:b is
> > # replaced by an IRI can also be handled under LPG, 1G, etc.
> >
> > # Now, let us look at the case where different statements are assigned
> the same
> > # reifier:
> >
> > # (E) Same reifier used in two expressions about different triples.
> > :s1 :p :o {| :b | :ep 1 |} # a statement about a statement with reifier
> ":b".
> > :s2 :p :o {| :b | :ep 2 |} # a statement about a different statement,
> same reifier.
> >
> > # This last case (E) has no sensible interpretation under LPG.
> >
> > # If we accept a constraint that using the same reifiers for different
> TripleTerms
> > # is not well-formed, then we can maintain a consistent interpretation
> with LPG edge
> > # properties.  Further, we can use explicit modelling to group
> statements and retain
> > # transparency about the functional or semantic roles in such groupings.
> >
> > # (F) Two statements are being grouped by an explicit semantic
> relationship (:partOf).
> > :s1 :p :o {| :b1 | :ep 1 |}
> > :s2 :p :o {| :b2 | :ep 2 |}
> > :b1 :partOf :b
> > :b2 :partOf :b
> >
> > # We submit that this explicit modelling is more useful and preserves
> the alignment
> > # with LPG and RDF which has such great value to the world wide graph
> community.
> >   --
> > Dr. Ora Lassila
> > Principal Technologist, Amazon Neptune
> ---
> james anderson | |

Received on Tuesday, 9 April 2024 20:22:03 UTC