Sapphire: Querying RDF data made simple

Ahmed ElRoby, Khaled Ammar, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Jimmy Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is currently a large amount of publicly accessible structured data available as RDF data sets. For example, the Linked Open Data (LOD) cloud now consists of thousands of RDF data sets with over 30 billion triples, and the number and size of the data sets is continuously growing. Many of the data sets in the LOD cloud provide public SPARQL endpoints to allow issuing queries over them. These endpoints enable users to retrieve data using precise and highly expressive SPARQL queries. However, in order to do so, the user must have sufficient knowledge about the data sets that she wishes to query, that is, the structure of data, the vocabulary used within the data set, the exact values of literals, their data types, etc. Thus, while SPARQL is powerful, it is not easy to use. An alternative to SPARQL that does not require as much prior knowledge of the data is some form of keyword search over the structured data. Keyword search queries are easy to use, but inherently ambiguous in describing structured queries. This demonstration introduces Sapphire, a system for querying RDF data that strikes a middle ground between ambiguous keyword search and difficult-to-use SPARQL. Our system does not replace either, but utilizes both where they are most effective. Sapphire helps the user construct expressive SPARQL queries that represent her information needs without requiring detailed knowledge about the queried data sets. These queries are then executed over public SPARQL endpoints from the LOD cloud. Sapphire guides the user in the query writing process by showing suggestions of query terms based on the queried data, and by recommending changes to the query based on a predictive user model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1484
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the VLDB Endowment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science(all)

Cite this

ElRoby, A., Ammar, K., Aboulnaga, A., & Lin, J. (2015). Sapphire: Querying RDF data made simple. Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment, 9(13), 1481-1484.