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SPARQL Protocol And RDF Query Language (SPARQL) is an acronym standing in for both the query language itself, and the protocol through which operators use it. Human operators use SPARQL to make queries and retrieve information from data that is stored in a Resource Description Framework (RDF) format. RDF is a standard designed by the W3C for the exchange of data over the internet.
As a recursive acronym, SPARQL can be confusing. SPARQL stands for the protocol, but it also stands for the full term: “SPARQL Protocol And RDF Query Language” that is self-contained in its letters. SPARQL helps to handle graphs in RDF through a process of pattern matching. SPARQL functionality can be facilitated by either HTTP or SOAP in various environments.
SPARQL has been engineered by the W3C's RDF Data Access Working Group and is continually under development. The working group is trying to figure out best practices for SPARQL, which may include natively querying data in RDF format. SPARQL is generally touted as a tool for handling unpredictable or inconsistent data. A GRAPH command prompt is used to query data in conjunction with provenance information.