The Semantic Web is a set of theories and implementations dealing w/ the representation and relations of web resources. It addresses ways that these resources can be structured and described to facilitate their organization, analysis and composition by software algorithms.
For instance, a character in a story might be represented using the following graph. This depicts declarative statements about an 8 year old female character named Red Riding Hood.
Such structures can also describe associations with other entities.
Notice that the description of the character is independent of any stories within which it might be implemented. That is, we’ve described Red Riding Hood without reference to her role in the eponymous fable. This approach lends to the portability of the character’s representation across multiple instances, types, and modes of story delivery.
The characteristics of such entities can be conformed to data structures that describe their significance, and the rules by which they can associate. These rules might be specific to a period of time, a location within the story, or the story world as a whole.
For instance, you could describe a character’s friends and enemies, and then define rules for how the character can interact w/ each of these classes of entities. These rules would be encoded so that they can be interpreted by both humans and computers.
There are several potential benefits to such an approach.
Semantically rich descriptions of stories, and their constituent elements, improve the ’searchability’ of these resources and provide a framework for describing the mutual associations among resources. They also facilitate the integration of story elements to other application contexts such as social networks and indexing services.
Story Path Coordination
Abstracting the definition of story elements facilitates the updating and synchronization of these elements, and their associations, across diverse paths and/or views of the story. For example, it’s easier to update the state of a character ( e.g. from living to dead ) across all instances of the character if these instances all reference a common definition of that character.
Defining story elements independently of a specific implementation facilitates the customization of the presentation of those elements across diverse presentation contexts. For example, let’s say that a given story location must be presented through both a standard web browser and embedded micro-browser. This location may be associated with several media assets but not all of these assets can be presented in the micro-browser context. The presentation to micro-browsers can be defined to present only those media assets suitable to this context. This is possible because the definition of the story location is not dedicated to a specific type of presentation.
Story Element Recombination and Resequencing
Here again, the abstraction of story elements enables a more sophisticated execution and delivery of a story. If each element is defined as an abstract entity and the relationships among elements are described using rules that are valid regardless of a specific story implementation, it’s much easier to change the selection and interactions of these elements within a story. Similarly the sequence in which they are presented can be altered without necessarily breaking the logic of the storyline.
I’ll address these ideas more fully in future posts.
David Beard is the Chief Technical Architect of Seize The Media LLC. Prior to joining STM, David had served in various executive and technical roles with companies in the media and technology sectors. He has also provided firms with technology and business development expertise as an independent consultant. His designs and solutions have been integrated to products and services ranging from electronic cinema transport and exhibition solutions to distributed computing frameworks and media delivery platforms. David has also been published by Wrox Press and participates in a variety of Open Source projects.
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