Sesame (framework)

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Stable release 2.8.1 / March 5, 2015 (2015-03-05)
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Platform Java Virtual Machine
Type Semantic Web
License BSD-style license

Sesame is an open-source framework for querying and analyzing RDF data. It was created by the Dutch software company Aduna as part of "On-To-Knowledge", a semantic web project that ran from 1999 to 2002. It contains implementations of an in-memory triplestore and an on-disk triplestore, along with two separate Servlet packages that can be used to manage and provide access to these triplestores, on a permanent server. The Sesame Rio (RDF Input/Output) package contains a simple API for Java based RDF parsers and writers. Parsers and writers for popular RDF serialisations are distributed along with Sesame, and users can easily extend the list by putting their parsers and writers on the Java classpath when running their application.

Sesame supports two query languages: SPARQL and SeRQL. Another component of Sesame is Alibaba, an API that allows for mapping Java classes onto ontologies and for generating Java source files from ontologies. This makes it possible to use specific ontologies like RSS, FOAF and the Dublin Core directly from Java.

Sesame's RDF database API differs from comparable solutions in that it offers a stackable interface through which functionality can be added, and the storage engine is abstracted from the query interface.[1] Many other triplestores can be used through the Sesame API, including Mulgara, and AllegroGraph. Through the stackable interface, functionality can be added to all of these stores. It can, for example, be used to add indexing and query capabilities to all compatible stores:

  • Free text search capabilities can be added through the LuceneSail.[2]
  • Geospatial (GeoSPARQL) and free text search can be added through uSeekM.[3]


In February 2015, it was proposed to turn Sesame into an Eclipse project called RDF4J, in recognition of Aduna no longer being involved in its development.[4] This would officially be a fork, bringing the core developers with it.

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