Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Queries using DESCRIBE

Like CONSTRUCT, DESCRIBE delivers as output an RDF graph – i.e., a set of RDF triples. It differs from CONSTRUCT in that these triples are not constructed according to a template, but returned as found in the dataset.

The reasons for doing this are similar to those for CONSTRUCT – you might, for instance, want to add these triples to another dataset – but you would prefer DESCRIBE if you were satisfied with the original encoding and had no reason to re-express the information using different resource names.

To specify the desired information, the simplest method is to name a resource; the query engine will then return all triples in which this resource is employed either as subject, predicate or object. Thus the following query will retrieve all statements mentioning Paul McCartney.

PREFIX dbpedia: <http://dbpedia.org/resource/>

DESCRIBE dbpedia:Paul_McCartney

Alternatively, resources can be specified more generically as bindings to a variable. Thus the following query requests all triples that mention a member of the Beatles.

PREFIX dbpedia: <http://dbpedia.org/resource/>
PREFIX mo: <http://purl.org/ontology/mo/>

DESCRIBE ?member
WHERE { dbpedia:The_Beatles mo:member ?member }

This work is a derivative of ‘Using Linked Data Effectively’ by The Open University (2014) and licensed under CC by 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. http://www.euclid-project.eu/

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Linked Data and the Semantic Web

University of Southampton

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Contact FutureLearn for Support