I am used to working with semantic web technology, however often the decisions made in some of the ontologies I have seen baffle me. While they are technically correct, they sometimes seem a little strange.

What I realise is that I have not gone through the exercise myself yet. Over the next few months I intend to go through the process of building an ontology, so that I may better understand why things have been done in others that I read.

I will document my progress, and thinking here, to hopefully provide guidance and insight to people who need to do the same in future.

The subject I have chosen for this is “Narrative works.” I would like to create an ontology to describe stories, characters and the relations between them…

Actually that could be split in two. One ontology to describe stories and another to describe relations, I may come back to that thought later.


This is difficult to pin down, before I have given too much thought to it. I’ll try and create a user story.

“As a narrative ontology user I would like to be able to describe a story in context so that I can analyse the story and determine facts about it.”

That is still a little woolly. How about some use cases?

Describe (in increasing detail):

  • A simple fairy tail
  • A play
  • Something which has multiple formats eg book of the film.
  • A TV series
  • The life of superman.


  • The story in chronological order
  • The story from a characters point of view.
  • Differences between versions of a story.
  • Differences between versions of a character.

I may alter the scope as I go, depending on how things pan out.

There is quite a lot of philosophical discussion about naratology which I would study in depth if this were my doctorate, but as I am using this just as an example to try building an ontology I will just dip into the subject as I need to.