Since a complex graph might contain more than one blank node, there also needs to be a way to differentiate between these different blank nodes in a triples representation of the graph. As a result, triples use blank node identifiers, having the form _:name, to indicate the presence of blank nodes.


In a triples representation of a graph, each distinct blank node in the graph is given a different blank node identifier. Unlike URIrefs and literals, blank node identifiers are not considered to be actual parts of the RDF graph (this can be seen by looking at the drawn graph in Figure 6 and noting that the blank node has no blank node identifier). Blank node identifiers are just a way of representing the blank nodes in a graph (and distinguishing one blank node from another) when the graph is written in triple form. Blank


If it is expected that a node in a graph will need to be referenced from outside the graph, a URIref should be assigned to identify it. Finally, because blank node identifiers represent (blank) nodes, rather than arcs, in the triple form of an RDF graph, blank node identifiers may only appear as subjects or objects in triples; blank node identifiers may not be used as predicates in triples.

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