Abstract. Blank nodes are defined in RDF as ‘existential variables ’ in the same way that has been used before in mathematical logic. However, evidence suggests that actual usage of RDF does not follow this definition. In this paper we thoroughly cover the issue of blank nodes, from incomplete information in database theory, over different treatments of blank nodes across the W3C stack of RDFrelated standards, to empirical analysis of RDF data publicly available on the Web. We then summarize alternative approaches to the problem, weighing up advantages and disadvantages, also discussing proposals for Skolemization.
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