Representing Narratives in Digital Libraries: The Narrative Ontology

Tracking #: 2539-3753

This paper is currently under review
Carlo Meghini
Valentina Bartalesi
Daniele Metilli

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Special Issue Cultural Heritage 2019

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Full Paper
Digital Libraries (DLs), especially in the Cultural Heritage domain, are rich in narratives. Every digital object in a DL tells some kind of story, regardless of the medium, the genre, or the type of the object. However, DLs do not offer services about narratives, for example it is not possible to discover a narrative, to create one, or to compare two narratives. Certainly, DLs offer discovery functionalities over their contents, but these services merely address the objects that carry the narratives (e.g., books, images, audiovisual objects), without regard for the narratives themselves. The present work aims at introducing narratives as first-class citizens in DLs, by providing a formal expression of what a narrative is. In particular, this paper presents a conceptualization of the domain of narratives, and its specification through the Narrative Ontology (NOnt for short), expressed in first-order logic. NOnt has been implemented as an extension of three standard vocabularies, i.e. the CIDOC CRM, FRBRoo, and OWL Time, and using the SWRL rule language to express the axioms. On the basis NOnt, we have developed the Narrative Building and Visualising (NBVT) tool, and applied it in four case studies to validate the ontology. NOnt is also being validated in the context of the Mingei European project, in which it is applied to the representation of knowledge about Craft Heritage.
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