An event-based approach to describing and understanding museum narratives

Mulholland, Paul; Wolff, Annika; Collins, Trevor and Zdrahal, Zdenek (2011). An event-based approach to describing and understanding museum narratives. In: Detection, Representation, and Exploitation of Events in the Semantic Web (DeRiVE 2011) in conjunction with the 10th International Semantic Web Conference 2011 (ISWC 2011), 23 Oct 2011, Bonn, Germany.



Current museum metadata tends to be focused around the properties of the heritage object such as the artist, style and date of creation. This form of metadata can index a museum’s collection but cannot express the relations between heritage objects and related concepts found in contemporary museum exhibitions. A modern museum exhibition, rather than providing a taxonomic classification of heritage objects, uses them in the construction of curatorial narratives to be interpreted by an audience. In this paper we outline how curatorial narratives can be represented semantically using our Curate Ontology. The Curate Ontology, informed by a detailed analysis of two museum exhibitions, draws on structuralist theories that distinguish between story (i.e. what can be told), plot (i.e. an interpretation of the story) and narrative (i.e. its presentational form). This work has implications for how events can be used in the description of museum narratives and their associated heritage objects.

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