This message is relevant for people writing SPARQL queries and using the Wikidata Query Service:

As part of the work of redesigning the WDQS updater[0] we identified that blank nodes[1] are problematic[2] and we plan to deprecate their usage in the wikibase RDF model[3]. To ease the deprecation process we are introducing the new function wikibase:isSomeValue() that can be used in place of isBlank() when it was used to filter SomeValue[4].

What does this mean for you: nothing will change for now, we are only interested to know if you encounter any issues with the wikibase:isSomeValue() function when used as a replacement of the isBlank() function. More importantly, if you used the isBlank() function for other purposes than identifying SomeValue (unknown values in the UI), please let us know as soon as possible.

The current plan is as follow:

1. Introduce a new wikibase:isSomeValue() function
We are at this step. You can already use wikibase:isSomeValue() in the Query Service. Here’s an example query (Humans whose gender we know we don't know):
?human wdt:P21 ?gender
FILTER wikibase:isSomeValue(?gender) .
You can also search the wikis[8] to find all the pages where the function isBlank is referenced in a SPARQL query.

2. Generate stable labels for blank nodes in the wikibase RDF output
Instead of "autogenerated" blank node labels wikidata will now provide a stable label for blank nodes. In other words the wikibase triples using blank nodes such as:
s:Q2-6657d0b5-4aa4-b465-12ed-d1b8a04ef658 ps:P576 _:genid2 ;
will become
s:Q2-6657d0b5-4aa4-b465-12ed-d1b8a04ef658 ps:P576 _:1668ace9a6860f7b32569c45fe5a5c0d ;
This is not a breaking change.

3. [BREAKING CHANGE] Convert blank nodes to IRIs in the WDQS updater
At this point some WDQS servers will start returning IRIs such as http://www.wikidata.org/somevalue/1668ace9a6860f7b32569c45fe5a5c0d (the exact form of the IRI is still under discussion) instead of blank node literals like t1514691780 auto-generated by blazegraph. Queries still using isBlank() will stop functioning. Tools explicitly relying on the presence of blank nodes (t1514691780) in the query results will also be affected.
We don’t have a defined date for this change yet, but we will follow the Wikidata breaking change process (announcing the change 4 weeks in advance).

4. [BREAKING CHANGE] Change the RDF model and remove blank nodes completely from the RDF dumps
Instead of doing the conversion and blank node removal in the WDQS updater we will do it at RDF generation.
This is a breaking change of the somevalue section of the RDF model[5] and the no value owl constraint for properties[6].
We don’t have a defined date for this change yet, but we will follow the Wikidata breaking change process (announcing the change 4 weeks in advance).

If you encounter issues using wikibase:isSomeValue() or if you have questions about the process, feel free to write a comment on the Phabricator ticket[3] or the Contact the development team (query service and search) wiki page[7].


David Causse

0: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T244590
1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blank_node
2: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T244341#5889997
3: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T244341
4: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikibase/DataModel#PropertySomeValueSnak
5: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikibase/Indexing/RDF_Dump_Format#Somevalue
6: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikibase/Indexing/RDF_Dump_Format#Novalue
7: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Contact_the_development_team/Query_Service_and_search
8: https://www.wikidata.org/w/index.php?search=all%3Ainsource%3A%2FisBlank+%2A%5C%28+%2A%5C%3F%2Fi&title=Special:Search&profile=default&fulltext=1