Narratives in Digital Libraries: Enhancing Search Functionalities with Linked Data

Alessio Frateily

Hatched by Alessio Frateily

May 02, 2024

3 min read


Narratives in Digital Libraries: Enhancing Search Functionalities with Linked Data

In the age of digital information overload, navigating through vast collections of resources in digital libraries (DLs) can be a daunting task. The traditional search functionalities of DLs often fall short in providing users with a comprehensive understanding of the subject they are searching for. However, the introduction of the Semantic Web and Linked Data has the potential to revolutionize the way we search and discover information in DLs.

One of the main limitations of current DLs is the lack of semantic relations among the returned search results. Users are often presented with a ranked list of resources, but without any contextual information or connections between them. This can make it difficult for users to gain a deeper understanding of the subject they are exploring.

To address this issue, our project aims to introduce narratives as a new first-class search functionality in DLs. Instead of simply returning a list of objects, the new search functionality will present users with narratives composed of events that are linked to the objects in the existing libraries. These narratives will be endowed with a set of semantic relations, creating a meaningful semantic network for users to explore.

To achieve this, we have developed an ontology for representing narratives as an extension of the CIDOC CRM ontology. This ontology serves as a framework for capturing the relationships between events, objects, and semantic concepts within the narratives. Additionally, we have created a tool that allows users to build and visualize narratives based on this ontology.

By incorporating narratives into DLs, we can provide users with a more immersive and informative search experience. Instead of relying solely on keyword-based queries, users can explore narratives that connect various resources and events, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This approach not only enhances the discoverability of resources but also promotes serendipitous exploration and interdisciplinary research.

To further improve the search functionalities of DLs, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the power of Linked Data: By leveraging Linked Data principles, DLs can establish connections between different resources and enrich the search experience. Encourage the adoption of standardized ontologies and vocabularies to ensure interoperability and seamless integration of narratives.
  • 2. Foster community-driven contributions: DLs should actively involve users and experts in the creation and curation of narratives. By allowing users to contribute their own narratives or enrich existing ones, DLs can tap into the collective intelligence and domain expertise of the community, creating a dynamic and evolving knowledge base.
  • 3. Invest in user-friendly visualization tools: Visualizing narratives in an intuitive and interactive manner is crucial for engaging users and facilitating their exploration. DLs should invest in user-friendly visualization tools that allow users to navigate and interact with the narratives, providing a holistic view of the subject matter.

In conclusion, narratives have the potential to revolutionize the search functionalities of DLs by providing users with a more comprehensive and contextualized understanding of the resources they are exploring. By incorporating semantic relations and linked events into the search results, DLs can enhance discoverability and promote interdisciplinary research. By embracing Linked Data, fostering community contributions, and investing in visualization tools, DLs can unlock the full potential of narratives and create a more immersive and informative search experience for users.

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