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News Release: W3C Opens Data on the Web with SPARQL

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 16:34:42 +0000
To: w3c-news@w3.org
Message-Id: <1200414882.11957.21.camel@localhost>
W3C Opens Data on the Web with SPARQL
Powerful Technology for Querying Distributed and Diverse Data	

   http://www.w3.org/ -- 15 January 2008 -- W3C announced today
   the publication of SPARQL, the key standard for opening up
   data on the Semantic Web. With SPARQL query technology,
   pronounced "sparkle," people can focus on what they want to
   know rather than on the database technology or data format
   used behind the scenes to store the data. Because SPARQL
   queries express high-level goals, it is easier to extend them
   to unanticipated data sources, or even to port them to new

   "Trying to use the Semantic Web without SPARQL is like trying
   to use a relational database without SQL," explained Tim
   Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "SPARQL makes it possible to query
   information from databases and other diverse sources in the
   wild, across the Web."

See the full text of the release and W3C Member testimonials

 - Ian Jacobs Head of W3C Communications


   Contact Americas, Australia --
          Ian Jacobs, <ij@w3.org>, +1.718.260.9447 or

   Contact Europe, Africa and the Middle East --
          Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94

   Contact Asia --
          Yasuyuki Hirakawa <chibao@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170


  Press release (English):

  Press release (French):

  Press release (Japanese):

  W3C Member Testimonials


  Semantic Web FAQ:

  Semantic Web Use Cases:

  W3C Semantic Web Home:

English text of press release

   http://www.w3.org/ -- 15 January 2008 -- W3C announced today
   the publication of SPARQL, the key standard for opening up
   data on the Semantic Web. With SPARQL query technology,
   pronounced "sparkle," people can focus on what they want to
   know rather than on the database technology or data format
   used behind the scenes to store the data. Because SPARQL
   queries express high-level goals, it is easier to extend them
   to unanticipated data sources, or even to port them to new

   "Trying to use the Semantic Web without SPARQL is like trying
   to use a relational database without SQL," explained Tim
   Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "SPARQL makes it possible to query
   information from databases and other diverse sources in the
   wild, across the Web."

   There are already 14 known implementations of SPARQL, many of
   which are open source.

  SPARQL Overcomes Traditional Query Language Limitations of
  Local Searches, Single Formats

   Many successful query languages exist, including standards
   such as SQL and XQuery. These were primarily designed for
   queries limited to a single product, format, type of
   information, or local data store.  Traditionally, it has been
   necessary to formulate the same high-level query differently
   depending on application or the specific arrangement chosen
   for the relational database. And when querying multiple data
   sources it has been necessary to write logic to merge the
   results. These limitations have imposed higher developer costs
   and created barriers to incorporating new data sources.

   The goal of the Semantic Web is to enable people to share,
   merge, and reuse data globally. SPARQL is designed for use at
   the scale of the Web, and thus enables queries over
   distributed data sources, independent of format. Creating a
   single query across diverse data stores is easier than having
   to create multiple queries; it also costs less and provides
   richer results.

   Because SPARQL has no tie to a specific database format, it
   can be used to take advantage of the tidal wave of Web 2.0
   data and mash it up with other Semantic Web
   resources. Furthermore, because disparate data sources may not
   have the same 'shape' or share the same properties, SPARQL is
   designed to query non-uniform data.

  SPARQL Turns Data Access into a Web Service

   The combination of the SPARQL query language and protocol
   creates a Web service in its purest sense; running on top of
   HTTP or SOAP, it provides a standard Web service for anything
   which asks a question.

   "SPARQL's focus on querying the data models saves time for
   developers; there's no need for a host of little Web services
   to retrieve different aspects of the state of a system,"
   explained Lee Feigenbaum, Chair of the RDF Data Access Working
   Group. "This allows the user of the SPARQL endpoint to ask any
   question -- it is as though they could design their own
   interface instead of having to work with a limited set of
   fixed services."

   The SPARQL specification defines a query language and a
   protocol and works with the other core Semantic Web
   technologies from W3C: Resource Description Framework (RDF)
   for representing data; RDF Schema; Web Ontology Language (OWL)
   for building vocabularies; and Gleaning Resource Descriptions
   from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL), for automatically
   extracting Semantic Web data from documents. SPARQL also makes
   use of other W3C standards found in Web services
   implementations, such as Web Services Description Language

  W3C's Data Access Working Group Includes Industry Leaders in
  Database Technology, Web Applications

   W3C RDF Data Access Working Group produced the three SPARQL
   Recommendations issued today: the SPARQL Query Language for
   RDF, The SPARQL Protocol for RDF, and the SPARQL Query Results
   XML Format. The Working Group includes invited experts and
   participants from Agfa-Gevaert N. V.; Asemantics S.R.L.; Clark
   & Parsia LLC; Cleveland Clinic; Eindhoven University of
   Technology; Free University of Bozen-Bolzano; Garlik; HP; IBM
   Corporation; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (MEI);
   Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT); OpenLink Software;
   Oracle; and Profium, Ltd.  The SPARQL Testimonials page
   contains statements of support and commitments to implement
   the new Recommendations.

   W3C continues to enhance the relationship between the Semantic
   Web and traditional databases; see the report from the W3C
   Workshop on RDF Access to Relational Databases from October

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

   The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international
   consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and
   the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C
   primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web
   standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth
   for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the
   Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and
   Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the
   European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics
   (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in
   Japan,and has additional Offices worldwide. For more
   information see http://www.w3.org/

W3C Member Testimonials


  Asemantics S.r.l., the European Semantic Web company has been
  actively contributing to the W3C DAWG standardization process
  and successfully deploying W3C's SPARQL query language and
  protocol based real-world solutions inside public and private
  sector; for the European Space Agency (ESA/ESRIN) we
  successfully built ad-hoc dynamic satellite image galleries and
  an EO interoperability catalog search engine using the
  SPARQL. We worked together with Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch
  Water Authority) to create an RDF based library of national
  water measurement data about more than four centuries of
  different physical and biological measurements related to sea,
  coastal and inland water; catalog and detailed search are
  internally being performed using SPARQL. Inside the Joost
  venture we successfully used RDF related technologies including
  the SPARQL query and language and protocol to build dynamic and
  flexible digital asset management tools to bridge content
  owners, metadata engineering and management related
  workflows. We are working together with the British
  Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to build a next generation feed
  aggregator inside the Memoryshare initiative which internally
  stores information in RDF in order to preserve all richness of
  the original information and all relations among the data;
  which is then being queried dynamically using the SPARQL query

  Asemantics see SPARQL as a major W3C contribution which will
  enable next generation Internet semantic applications in the

 -- Alberto Reggiori, CTO Asemantics S.r.l.

Clark & Parsia

  Clark & Parsia LLC recognizes SPARQL as an important
  development in the evolution of the Semantic Web. By providing
  a standard query language for RDF, SPARQL offers developers a
  "universal query language" that can be used to access
  information stored in a wide range of systems, including
  metadata repositories, web services, and legacy information
  systems. Clark & Parsia supports SPARQL query answering in its
  OWL DL reasoner Pellet and is readying the first Pellet release
  with SPARQL extensions for OWL DL.

 -- Michael Smith, Senior Engineer and W3C AC Representative, Clark
    & Parsia LLC

Computas AS

  Computas AS is currently building systems for its customers
  where SPARQL is a fundamental core component. When conducting
  feasibility studies, we found that there are allready many high
  quality off-the-shelf components that puts the vision of the
  data web within reach, also for smaller enterprises.

  We are pleased to see SPARQL promoted to a W3C Recommendation,
  as it provides a stable platform for further work. We are
  allready experimenting with extensions to SPARQL, and will work
  with the W3C and its membership in the work that lies ahead.

 -- Kjetil Kjernsmo, Senior Knowledge Engineer, Computas AS


  CWI is a strong supporter of the W3C activities in general and
  of the steps taken towards a standardization of SPARQL in
  particular.  Use of SPARQL significantly improves the bridge
  between data- and document-oriented information. CWI's
  contribution will bear fruit in its ongoing activities on the
  open source database management system MonetDB/{SQL,XQuery},
  which will soon evolve into MonetDB/SPARQL.

  -- Prof. Dr. J.K. Lenstra, Director, CWI

Eli Lilly

  Eli Lilly and Company is a world leader in innovative
  applications of technology to discover and develop
  pharmaceutical products to better people's lives. Accordingly,
  Lilly is using W3C Semantic Web technologies to help scientists
  gather information about drug targets, and maintain knowledge
  about experiments. In particular, we use the SPARQL query
  language in conjunction with an OWL ontology to find out
  information about experiments that have been undertaken. We are
  pleased to see SPARQL become a W3C Recommendation.

   -- Susie Stephens, Principal Research Scientist for Open
      Innovation, Eli Lilly


  Garlik make extensive use of the W3C's SPARQL query language
  andprotocol. Two of our Products, DataPatrol and QDOS use
  SPARQLcompliant RDF stores as their core data store.DataPatrol
  uses SPARQL as an access point to a large, complex andrapidly
  changing data structure, while building on top of HTTP
  hasallowed us to provide high levels of security in a standards
  complaintway.QDOS uses SPARQL to provide a standards compliant,
  web accessiblebackend for a Web 2.0 platform. SPARQL provides a
  ready-made HTTP-basedquery interface which is capable of
  providing third party developers withaccess to public data.

   -- Tom Ilube, Founder & CEO, Garlik


  Hewlett-Packard is pleased to support the SPARQL

  SPARQL is a key element for integrated information access
  across information silos and across business boundaries. HP
  customers can benefit from better information utilization by
  employing semantic web technologies.

  HP's Jena Semantic Web framework has a complete implementation
  of query language, protocol and result set processing. Jena is
  open-source, freely available, with a large and active
  developer community.

  HP is pleased to announce the first full release of SDB, a new
  SPARQL database system for Jena that leverages existing
  database installations to give enterprise-grade storage and
  query of RDF.

   -- Jean-Luc Chatelain, CTO HP Software Information Management


  The SPARQL Recommendation sets the standard for querying RDF data.
  INRIA is very pleased with the W3C efforts converging towards a
  robust query language that will offer a common way to extract RDF
  data from the Semantic Web. INRIA teams have invested efforts in
  implementing the Recommendation and deliver right away
  SPARQL-compliant tools. The CORESE search engine for the
  semantic web can evaluate SPARQL queries against RDF, OWL and rule
  content. We also developed PSPARQL: a query language which can
  express all SPARQL queries as well as extensions with path
  expressions allowing more general queries. A PSPARQL query engine
  is also available.

   -- Pierre Paradinas, Head of Technological Development, INRIA

OpenLink Software

  SPARQL bridges the gap between the vision and the manifestation
  of a Web of semantically interlinked data (Linked Data). This
  powerful mechanism helps expose and explain the data
  integration prowess of our Virtuoso Universal Server and
  OpenLink Data Spaces products, across all levels of the
  Internet, Intranet, and Extranet.

  By leveraging Web architecture in devising this standard --
  comprised of an open query language, communications protocol,
  and results serialization format -- the W3C has ingeniously
  delivered an unobtrusive bridge between the current Web of
  Documents and the emerging Web of Linked Data. SPARQL will
  ultimately enhance the value of the Web for everyone.

  -- Kingsley Idehen, President & CEO, OpenLink Software


  Oracle congratulates the W3C on achieving 'Recommendation'
  status for SPARQL. As an active participant in this working
  group, Oracle believes the standardization of SPARQL will play
  an instrumental role in achieving the vision of the Semantic
  Web. The community's work is intended to help organizations
  more effectively discover, automate, integrate and re-use data
  across various applications.

  Oracle Database 11g Semantic Store provides native support for
  efficient and scalable storage, bulk loading, inferencing, and
  graph-pattern based querying of semantic data represented using
  W3C's RDF, RDFS, and OWL languages. The Oracle Jena adaptor
  allows querying of semantic data stored in Oracle using the
  SPARQL query language while leveraging the performance and
  scalability of Oracle's Semantic Store.

   -- Don Deutsch, vice president Standards Strategy and
      Architecture, Oracle


  Profium provides software solutions for rich digital content
  management by leveraging the latest Semantic Web
  technologies. Our software solutions provide for multimedia
  archiving, centralized metadata management and real-time
  routing of content for cross-media publishing. Profium's
  Metadata Server product uses RDF data model and SPARQL as query
  language and for us, a standardized query language has been a
  most welcome addition to the Semantic Web technology stack and
  we foresee great interoperability possibilities in the future.

   -- Jari Harjula, Product manager, Profium Ltd.


  Talis is delighted to see the publication of the SPARQL
  Recommendations. We believe that this is an important milestone
  in making the Semantic Web usable for a broad class of
  applications in the enterprise. The Talis Semantic Web Platform
  provides its users with services using the SPARQL query
  language and protocol to allow searching of their data. We look
  forward to SPARQL being incorporated in many more applications
  enabling Web-scale integration of data between and within

   -- Ian Davis, CTO, Talis Group Ltd

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                     +1 718 260-9447

Received on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 16:34:46 UTC

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