“But RDF isn’t a format.” Thank you for reiterating this, Kingsley. Can’t be said often enough.
Jim Saiya

Here’s why:

  • Data is how we represent observation (a collection of Entity Relationships) in reusable form — a sentence is an example of a Datum while a paragraph is an example of Data, using natural language as an example
  • A Database is a document (not an application) that contains a collection of Entity Relationships grouped by Relationship Type (or Relations).
  • Relationship Types (Relations) can be represented in a variety of ways i.e., as Records in a Table (re. SQL world view) or Statement/Sentences grouped by Sentence Predicate (which can be visually represented as a Graph, Network, or Web pictorial)
  • A Database Management System is an Application that provides Data Definition and Manipulation service (this includes Query Languages like SQL, SPARQL, GraphQL, DataLog, Quel, and many others)

It sounds nice to speak of Graph Databases, but in reality this is marketing buzz-phrasing at its worst i.e., it doesn’t bring light to the important issue of understanding data or the real distinctions that exist in the database technology application realm. For instance, a Relational Database Management doesn’t imply SQL Relational Database Management system, that just another example of marketing overreach. Likewise, the emerging notion of an RDBMS equipped with AI is just contemporary babble for Deductive Database Management system.


Graph Data is like saying “Data Data”. Thus, a Graph Database is like saying “Data Data Document”. That phrase sounds nice to the ear, and the visualization are temporarily appealing, but ultimately it will be revealed as a predictable path to confusion and poor wheel reinvention.


[1] Relational Database Technology

[2] Understanding Data

[3] About Deductive Databases

[4] About QUEL Query Language

[5] About SPARQL Query Language

[6] About the Structured Query Language (SQL)

[7] About Datalog

[8] About Prolog

[9] Conceptual Graphs for a Data Base Interface

[11] About Conceptual Graphs

[12] Semantics for Interoperable Systems

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