Support of RDF-star

RDF-star is an extension to RDF that provides a way for one triple to refer to another triple. RDF* is the name of the original work which is described in Olaf Hartig’s blog entry.


<< :john foaf:name "John Smith" >> dct:source <http://example/directory> .

The part << :john foaf:name "John Smith" >> is an embedded triple and refers to the triple with subject :john, property foaf:name and object "John Smith".

Triple terms can be in the subject or object position.

Jena provides support for RDF-star and the related SPARQL-star.

  • Turtle, N-Triples, TriG and N-Quads extended for Triple Terms syntax, input and output. There is no output in RDF/XML.
  • SPARQL extended with Triple Term syntax for graph matching
  • SPARQL Result formats for JSON and XML extended to support Triple Terms in results.
  • Support in the Model API.

All this is active by default in Fuseki.

The aim is to follow the definition of the RDF-star community.

Storage in databases TDB1 and TDB2 as well as in-memory databases is supported.


RDF-star syntax for embedded triples is added to the parsers for Turtle, N-Triples, TriG and N-Quads.

Datasets may have graphs that have embedded triples that refer to triples anywhere, not just in the same graph.


Matches for embedded triples:

SELECT ?name { <<:john foaf:name ?name >> dct:source <http://example/directory> }

Insert triples terms into the default graph to record the graph source.

INSERT { <<?s ?p ?o>> dct:source <http://example/directory> }
    GRAPH <http://example/directory> {
        ?s ?p ?o

Use in expressions:

   ?s ?p ?o 
   BIND(<< ?s ?p ?o>> AS ?t)
SELECT (<< ?s ?p ?o>> AS ?t) {
   ?s ?p ?o 

These functions cause an expression error if passed the wrong type of arguments. afn: is a prefix for <>.

Function Description
TRIPLE(?s, ?p, ?o) Create an embedded triple from s/p/o
isTRIPLE(?t) Return true if the argument value is an embedded triple
SUBJECT(?t) Return the subject of the embedded triple
PREDICATE(?t) Return the predicate (property) of the embedded triple
OBJECT(?t) Return the object of the embedded triple

SPARQL results

The syntaxes for SPARQL results from a SELECT query, application/sparql-results+json, application/sparql-results+xml are extended to include embedded triples:

The embedded triple << _:b0 <http://example/p> 123 >> is encoded, in application/sparql-results+json as:

      "type": "triple" ,
      "value": {
        "subject":    { "type": "bnode" , "value": "b0" } ,
        "predicate":  { "type": "uri" , "value": "http://example/p" } ,
        "object":     { "type": "literal" , "datatype": "" , "value": "123" }

and similarly in application/sparql-results+xml:

        <literal datatype="">123</literal>

Model API

RDF-star embedded triples are treated as Resource to preserve the typed Model API. They occur in the subject and object positions.

A Resource contains a Statement object if the underlying RDF term is an RDF-star embedded triple.

New methods include:

  • Statement Resource.getStatement()
  • Resource Model.createResource(Statement)
  • Resource ResourceFactory.createStatement