RDF-Star Reference Implementation


Supervisory Chair



The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a data standard used to make Knowledge Graphs which can then be used in Semantic Web and Linked Data applications.

One of the widely-used toolkits for RDF manipulation is Python’s open source RDFlib. RDFlib is community-driven and adopts features that the community requests and that they create. Complex features sometimes require lots of skills and time to implement, due to the complex nature of some elements of RDF.

RDF-Star is a candidate standard extension of RDF to cater for a multigraph extension to the RDF model, offering a number of new possibilities, including allowing RDF-based systems to operate similarly to property graphs.

The RDFlib maintainers have had multiple requests for RDF-Star support and there are some starting attempts to implement this, however the maintainers believe dedicated work is needed to ensure that an implementation is both effective and doesn’t break existing RDFlib functionality.


  1. Implement RDF-Start in RDFlib
  2. Benchmark RDFlib’s performance with RDF-Star implementations in other systems
  3. Describe the implementation to the RDF-Start candidate standards authors
  4. Respond to standards authors’ feedback and improve the implementation

Student Outcomes

  1. Deep technical understanding of RDF and Knowledge Graphs
  2. Experience implementing data and query standards in software
  3. Contribution to Open Source software
    1. Experience dealing with open review of your work


This is a difficult task and will require either an advanced undergraduate Computer Science or Software Engineering student, or a Masters-level student.

This task’s scope can be altered to meet a student’s availability, so a student will be selected on aptitude and qualifications (university scores) and the scope adjusted for the candidate.

Minimum requirements:

- Advanced Python skills
- Advanced Git Version Control
- Collaborative Software Engineering Practices

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing