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31-05-2018 | Schwerpunktbeitrag | Issue 2/2018

Datenbank-Spektrum 2/2018

Using Queries as Schema-Templates for Graph Databases

Journal:
Datenbank-Spektrum > Issue 2/2018
Authors:
Stephan Mennicke, Jan-Christoph Kalo, Wolf-Tilo Balke

Abstract

In contrast to heavy-handed ER-style data models in relational databases, knowledge graphs (or graph databases) capture entity semantics in terms of entity relationships and properties following a simple collect-as-you-go model. While this allows for a more flexible and dynamically adaptable knowledge representation, it comes at the price of more complex querying: with varying degrees of information sparsity, it will gradually become more difficult to figure out what an entity actually represents. Thus, matching the intended schema as specified by a query against actually occurring entity patterns in the graph database needs severe attention on a conceptual level. In this article, we analyze graph patterns as schema information from a graph pattern matching perspective. We argue that every query consists of a mixture of conceptual information (how entities are structured) together with evaluation information (further dependencies and constraints on data) and that this mixture is not always easy to divide. To arrive at truly schema-aware graph query processing, we propose several matching mechanisms, each mandating a specific semantic meaning of the graph pattern, and discuss their practical applicability.

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