This course has already ended.

The latest instance of the course can be found at: Semantic Web: 2024 MOOC

SPARQL basics

YASGUI application

YASGUI is an application for easily using SPARQL endpoints, it can be accessed at

Get acquainted with the tool and submit the example query to DBpedia.

Note: The first exercise requires the usage of developer tools in your web browser, e.g. integrated DevTools in Firefox or Chrome (can be opened by pressing F12-key (Linux/Windows) or right-clicking the page and selecting “Inspect element” or “Inspect”).

Open developer tools on the site Open the Network panel in developer tools and run the default query with the developer tools open. The Network panel shows what sort of HTTP request is used to send the SPARQL query to the DBpedia SPARQL endpoint ( and what the response looks like.

You should check at least the “Header” and “Response” tabs of the loaded object (for Firefox users, the “Params” tab is also worth checking).

What is the parameter name that is used for sending the SPARQL query in HTTP GET or POST request? Write only the name as it is i.e. without a colon.


SPARQL ASK can be used to test if a certain query pattern exists or not.

WarSampo (Sotasampo in Finnish) contains large amounts of information about World War 2 in Finland. The data is published on a SPARQL endpoint at, and there is also a web portal that provides several web user interfaces to different WarSampo datasets.

A+ presents the exercise submission form here.


Query the WarSampo endpoint for the description of the resource with the English label “Winter War” using SPARQL DESCRIBE. Expand the DESCRIBE query to also return descriptions of all resources to which there is a link from (any predicate connecting to) the Winter War resource.

Answer the following questions based on the results of above DESCRIBE query.

Give the URI reference of Winter War’s time span in WarSampo.

Write the URI as it is, e.g.

Give the Finnish labels for Winter War’s class (determined by rdf:type) and what the Winter War falls within in WarSampo.

Return the two labels separated by a space e.g. "label one"@fi "label two"@fi.

Hint: this information is found most easily by expanding the DESCRIBE query with whatever is linked to the Winter War resource.

In the following exercises, DESCRIBE queries can be useful to inspect how a resource is described.


Using the WarSampo SPARQL endpoint, create a query that returns the URIs of 10 photographs (class, from which there is a direct relation to C.G.E. Mannerheim, the commander-in-chief of Finland’s armed forces (skos:prefLabel “Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim”).

The relation (property indicates that the person is automatically recognized as a named entity in the photograph’s metadata description. This usually means that the person is in the photograph, or somehow else involved in the photography event.

For instance, ?sub ?obj inside a SPARQL WHERE clause to WarSampo endpoint would retrieve all triples that describe named entities being in a photograph’s description.

Remember to test your query in YASGUI before submitting your answer.

Also remember to limit your query to 10 results with SPARQL LIMIT clause. Besides helping you get the tests correct, it will make testing your queries in YASGUI much faster if the result set is large.

Note: The tests don’t access all WarSampo data, thus you might get empty results from tests even though YASGUI returns some results or even the correct ones. This means there is something likely irrelevant in the query.

A+ presents the exercise submission form here.

SPARQL Aggregates

Modify the query from the previous exercise to show who are represented (property in the same photographs as C.G.E. Mannerheim. Create a query that will return the names of the 10 people who are most often represented in the same photographs as Mannerheim, along with the number of photographs the person is represented in with Mannerheim.

Hint: SPARQL aggregates work similary to SQL aggregates. Here are the available SPARQL Aggregates and a few examples:

Note: The automated tests might not work properly when using HAVING operator. FILTER works well as an alternative. Also, grouping by photo count breaks the tests.

A+ presents the exercise submission form here.

Posting submission...