Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

Font Size: 
Juan Antonio Pastor Sánchez, Tomás Saorín Pérez

Last modified: 2017-12-18



Transmedia storytelling proposes the use of multiple channels and media for the creation of content and narrative universes with stories intertwined with each other in continuous evolution. The stories transcend multimedia content and extend to other types of social and artistic events. Technological platforms also allow the participation of users and audiences in the expansion of narrative universes, stories and characters, and even participate in the creation of related collaborative contents or derivatives from literary or audiovisual products.

Online content platforms want to create a satisfactory consuming experience for the audience. This experience can be enriched with the integration of various other media and content, usually accessible online and used in a unified way and integrated with additional information. The standardization of this information using semantic technologies and standards is of great interest for both producers and content distribution services.

The creation of an ontology would allow the formalization and knowledge organization following the principles of interoperability and reuse. This paper proposes a conceptual model for the representation and knowledge organization of transmedia narratives and contents. This conceptual model has been used to define an OWL ontology that allows the creation of RDF datasets that represent the semantic of transmedia storytelling.


The authors have adopted an approach based on the development of a flexible conceptual model for the management and representation of information accessible in a network environment.

Proposals of previous works about the analysis of the different elements associated with the conceptualization of transmedia content have been reviewed. Most of these works establish that an audiovisual digital resource can be described with a multilevel approach. This has allowed to define different scenarios of application and reuse of the descriptive metadata associated to different levels of detail.

From this revision, the entities, attributes and relationships of the conceptual model have been defined. Finally, the elements of the conceptual model have been aligned with the structure of classes and properties of an OWL ontology.

Main results

The proposed conceptual model identifies a series of entities, attributes and relationships to describe, organize and interrelate the knowledge of transmedia contents and narratives according to different criteria. The model does not include aspects related to production, distribution, commercial aspects, etc. The main elements of this conceptual model are the following:

l  Creative works: Content elements to describe: movies, books, comics, video games, television series or a fragment of content can be considered as a content resource.

l  Events: any type of resource that has materialization outside the digital environment such as theater representations, exhibitions, sculptures, etc.

l  Users: Together with resources, users and the interaction with those are the basis of the transmedia storytelling. Users can bed organized into groups or communities and participate in the consumption, creation and distribution of content resource.

l  Agent: Person or organization (real or fictitious) that participates in the elaboration of a resource or forms part of the narrative of the content. Agents can be part of the cast or the creative or technical team that contributes to the creation of a creative work.

l  Periods: A period refers to a temporary (real or fictitious) location that is mentioned within the narrative argument of a content.

l  Places or location: Place or locations related to a resource. They can be both real and fictional.

l  Categories (Category): both content resources and online services can be categorized. It is a conceptual description that could cover genres or themes.


From the conceptual model an OWL ontology has been developed, following the following guidelines for its elaboration:

l  The entities of the conceptual model have been represented with a taxonomy of classes and subclasses.

l  Some entities have been defined as sub-classes of SKOS concepts to represent vocabulary and controlled terms (categories, roles, types of events and works, types of user participation).

l  The attributes have been modeled as data properties. These properties do not have a range of defined values, except those that refer to some type of date.

l  The relations of the conceptual model have been modeled as object properties. In all cases, both the domain and the range have been defined.


SKOS has been widely used in the ontology to separate the conceptual description of resources (types of resources, themes, roles, relationships, etc.) of ontology modeling. This avoids the modification of the ontology in the future in the case of identifying new conceptual aspects, whose creation would be realized by the addition of new concepts in the controlled vocabularies. The ontology is available at <http://purl.org/umu/tso/>.


The conceptual model and the OWL ontology proposed in this paper allow the design of architectures for the development of applications for the consumption of contents. The ontology offers a first conceptual level for the organization of knowledge of transmedia narratives.

On the other hand, the formalization of knowledge and its representation through data structures has a great utility for the creation of semantic standards applicable to different tools for design of transmedia storytelling. This will allow the creation and application of semantic standards from the first moment of the creative process.

In the future, it is necessary to validate the ontology through the practical description of transmedia narratives and the identification of cases of use. This validation is necessary for a second level of description to represent the knowledge of the most elaborate narrative aspects that allow to design and develop plots, characters and complex interactions with the users. Another line of research would be the application of the ontology proposed in content recommendation systems of online streaming media and video-on-demand platforms.


conceptual models, ontologies, semantic web, transmedia storytelling