Querying the Web Reconsidered: Design Principles for Versatile Web Query Languages

Querying the Web Reconsidered: Design Principles for Versatile Web Query Languages

François Bry (University of Munich, Germany), Christoph Koch (Vienna University of Technology, Austria), Tim Furche (University of Munich, Germany), Sebastian Schaffert (Nat. Inst. for Research & Development Informatics, Bucharest, Romania) and Liviu Badea (University of Munich, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-426-2.ch008


A decade of experience with research proposals as well as standardized query languages for the conventional Web and the recent emergence of query languages for the Semantic Web call for a reconsideration of design principles for Web and Semantic Web query languages. This chapter first argues that a new generation of versatile Web query languages is needed for solving the challenges posed by the changing Web: We call versatile those query languages able to cope with both Weband Semantic Web data expressed in any (Web or Semantic Web) markup language. This chapter further suggests that well-known referential transparency and novel answer-closedness are essential features of versatile query languages. Indeed, they allow queries to be considered like forms and answers like form-fillings in the spirit of the query-by-example paradigm. This chapter finally suggests that the decentralized and heterogeneous nature of the Web requires incomplete data specifications (or incomplete queries) and incomplete data selections (or incomplete answers); the form-like query can be specified without precise knowledge of the queried data, and answers can be restricted to contain only an excerpt of the queried data.

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