December 5, 2013
Working with stories in computers is obviously dependant upon a knowledge representation mechanism that allows for the storage and retrieval of narrative information – a narrative data model. The Structured Stories narrative data model is now in its third major revision, and expresses all of the major requirements for working with stories within the domain chosen for the proof-of-concept project: local government news. The model has been influenced by published models used in various pioneering computational narrative projects, but has some fundamental differences from these – most importantly in the use of semantic web concepts and in its focus on micro-content digital media requirements rather than on literary or academic objectives. Although it is likely that the model will undergo a further two or three major revisions before it ready to support a beta release, it is now beginning to stabilize and it currently supports the addition of new events and new stories at a rate that is equivalent to existing news reporting in the domain. Revisions of the model are primarily driven by learnings from working with these ‘live’ events and stories, and I expect to publish more details here once the model has stabilized and I have filed key patent applications.
I have found that attempting to capture the abstraction of stories in a useful way is not easy, however after months of modeling and three major revisions I have not yet come across an insurmountable conceptual obstacle. I believe that my narrative data model is growing increasingly useful – at the very least within the domain of local government news.