PoMS: RDF Services Documentation

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PoMS RDF: Documentation

Welcome to the set of documents that describe PoMS's presentation as RDF.

As is the case with RDF materials in general, you will need to understand the formalities of RDF and its related technologies to make use of PoMS's RDF data, and there is no introduction to these basic principles of RDF here. However, even if you are already familiar with RDF and Semantic Web basic technologies if you intend to use PoMS's RDF facilities you will still need to understand how the PoMS data is presented as RDF and what tools are available to process it. Providing this information is the purpose of these pages.

There are three sections to this front page for PoMS's RDF materials: A Quick Start section (below) allows those who wish to get directly into the data without much preamble to do so. However, the pages available here also have a somewhat more in-depth discussion of the issues that arise in PoMS's RDF. A few pointers to them are given in the Exploring the PoMS RDF documentation section below. Finally, the Acknowledgements section acknowledges various partners and players who have participated in the construction of this RDF server.

I hope you find PoMS's RDF materials interesting and useful. I'd welcome your thoughts. Please contact me at


Quick Start

  • PoMS's RDF are structured according to a rudimentary OWL ontology which you can find at https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf/ontology#. It is described in some detail in https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf/doc/ontology.html.
  • PoMS's RDF server is constructed using parts of rdf4j's workbench and, as such, provides a good basis for exploring PoMS's RDF data via a web browser. A good starting point for exploration is the "Types" display (see the tab to it in the Server's left-side menu) or click here to go to it directly). PoMS's specific types that are shown there are described in the page dedicated to its ontology.
  • PoMS's URIs for its entities all start with https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf/entity/ followed by the name of the type of entity (e.g. "Person/") followed by a number or name to identify a particular instance. Any of these URI's can be given to the WWW, and will cause the server to generate the RDF statements that are connected to it. To get the response as RDF data specify a suitable RDF mime type in your http request, or append the "format" parameter, specifying the suitable RDF mime type there. For more information, see the section "Entity URI support" in this web site's "Using the Server" page.
  • A browser-friendly version of PoMS's SPAQRL processor is presented to the user at https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf. A data-oriented SPARQL processor is available at https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf/endpoint/. See the description of it in the section "PoMS rdf SPARQL Endpoint" on the Using the Server page. Some examples of SPARQL queries for the PoMS RDF server can be found here
  • A small example of how one might use RDF data in a python script to generate a display can be found in the mapapp demonstration. The materials for it can be found at https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf/mapapp.
  • The code for PoMS's RDF server is available at GitHub: https://github.com/johnBradley501/uk.ac.kcl.kdl.jb.poms.rdfserver

Exploring the PoMS RDF documentation

The pages that describe PoMS's RDF services in some depth are all available via the tabs showing at the top of all the RDF documentation pages, including this one. The tabs are:

  • Home: this page.
  • Why RDF: describes why the PoMS project is well suited to have its contents represented as RDF. It explores why PoMS should connect well to the Linked Open Data initiative (LOD), and opens a discussion of how one gets from PoMS's data to RDF.
  • Using the Server: This tab takes you to a page that describes how to use the various services that make up PoMS's RDF server. All of the server is built upon the rdf4j platform, and much of it is based closely on rdf4j's workbench environment, which provides a light-weight HTML-friendly presentation of RDF materials. However, one can interact in a data-oriented fashion instead. See the section "Services available that generate raw data" near the end of this page.
  • PoMS Ontology: PoMS's RDF data is formally organised around a computer ontology that was developed for it. The tab "PoMS ontology" takes you to the page that describes it.
  • SPARQL Examples: This tab takes you to a document that introduces you to using SPARQL queries on the PoMS RDF Server by showing several examples of queries.

Some readers might be interested in the process that created the RDF data and server for PoMS. The process used for PoMS was very similar to that used to build the sister RDF server for the Prosopography of the Roman Republic project. You can find it described for DPRR here.


PoMS started as a joint project between the history departments at University of Glasgow and King's College London with King's Department of Digital Humanities (DDH), and has more recently been supported and developed by King's Digital Lab (KDL). Both the browser-oriented site at https://www.poms.ac.uk and this RDF server site are currently maintained by KDL under Service Level Agreement (for more details see https://www.kdl.kcl.ac.uk/how-we-work/kdl-designed-developed-and-maintained/).

The data for PoMS was prepared under grants from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. PoMS's team page identifies the major players in the PoMS project. Also, see here for general information about the data in PoMS and the project more generally.

This RDF server is based on the rdf4j workbench, with a few changes and extensions created by John Bradley, who was in the past one of the PoMS's co-investigators.

In partnership with DDH, KDL is working on increasing the availability of project data that could be of use to the wide community of academics, students, cultural sector professionals and the general public. This will improve the scholarly value of collective projects, and strengthen KDL ongoing efforts to justify investment in their long-term sustainability. Exposing the PoMS RDF triple store is part of this ongoing initiative.