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From Chapter 3

RDF Formal Semantics

of Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies:

After having dealt with the RDF(S) language in the previous sections, we now attend to its semantics. Our explanations closely follow the official W3C RDF semantics specification document.

Before that, we will briefly explain why the definition of a formal semantics became necessary (note that in the early days of RDF, there was no explicit, mathematically defined semantics) and the advantages it brings about.


  • Why Semantics?
  • Model-Theoretic Semantics for RDF(S)
  • Syntactic Reasoning with Deduction Rules
  • The Semantic Limits of RDF(S)
  • Summary
  • Exercises
  • Further Reading