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Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV

From: Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 11:00:10 +0000
To: Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net>
CC: Jason Douglas <jasondouglas@google.com>, "public-vocabs@w3.org" <public-vocabs@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CD1995BA.4CCE%richard.wallis@oclc.org>
Hi Greg,

I think we are sort of generally agreeing ;-)

Firstly I would suggest that character does become a type in its own right ­
to support the wider understanding of the specialness of fictitious people.
As you recognised characters appear in many things other than movies & TV,
so I would suggest the property should be placed upon CreativeWork to cover
books, plays, poems etc. too.

I also think it would be a missed opportunity, not to enable the description
of fictional organizations, places, things etc.  How for instance would you
differentiate the descriptions of MI6 and SMERSH in the early bond
films/books, or Bristol and Lilliput in Gulliverıs travels?

I know this may be a little broader than you intended, but I think it would
be valuable for this group to work upon.

Not so sure why you think that the ŒreferencedInı property doesnıt work ­ is
it the way I have done it, or you think it is superfluous?  If it is the
latter I was looking to it as an inverse property of character so that
starting with a character (or a fictional thing, you could describe the
books/movies that it appears in.

~Richard.



On 14/01/2013 10:24, "Gregg Kellogg" <gregg@greggkellogg.net> wrote:

> On Jan 14, 2013, at 10:32 AM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org> wrote:
> 
>> Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
>> Hi Gregg,
>> 
>> Referencing the other current thread on this list about the purpose of
>> Schema.org <http://Schema.org>  and the breadth and purpose of the list
>> itself, I am looking at this from the point of view of someone marking up
>> their web pages.  Using the additionalType property, I come up with something
>> like this in Microdata:
>> 
>> <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person"
>> <http://schema.org/Person%22> >
>>    <link itemprop="additionalType" href="http://schema.org/FictionalThing" />
>>    <span itemprop="name">Harry Potter</span>
>>    Affiliation:
>>    <span itemprop="affiliation">Hogwarts</span>
>>    <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/FictionalThing"
>> <http://schema.org/FictionalThing%22> >
>>     From the book:  <span itemprop="referencedIn">Harry Potter and the
>> Philosopherıs Stone</span>
>>   </div>
>> </div>
> 
> Actually, I don't think you want to nest the "referencedIn" property within
> it's own item.
> 
>> I am deliberately resisting the urge to create a Character class, as it is an
>> approach that will obviously not scale across all the fictitious things that
>> we could come across.   How is this different to saying that a thing  we are
>> describing is a schema:Book with an additionalType of schema:Offer so that we
>> can so that we can describe both its creative work and product or sale
>> properties.
> 
> The reason I proposed a Character type is because I think that a missing
> property from Movie, TVEpisode and so-forth is, in fact, schema:character. To
> say that a Movie has a name, director and actors, but not characters, seems to
> be missing a big part about what people expect from movies, books or TV shows.
> After all, it's the characters that draw people to these things, it's just the
> actors that help realize it. Given the need for a character property, what is
> it's expected range? Thus, my proposal to add a Character class.
> 
>> I acknowledge that Character may be a special case that requires a type ­
>> after all we have a word in English to describe a fictitious person in a
>> creative work, so it may well have enough extra importance to demand one.
>> But using what is a special case to test a generic theory doesnıt work very
>> well ­ lets get generic right and then specialise if it is inadequate.
> 
> I'm not really trying to solve a generic problem here, and I don't think that
> the schema.org <http://schema.org>  maintainers are that interested in generic
> things. However, I do think that the vocabulary should be able to express
> them; adding a FictionalThing class that can be "mixed-in" seems to accomplish
> this generically.
> 
>> A bit of turtle always helps me see what Iım modelling, this is what I get
>> for the above which would naturally map to RDFa:
>> <http://example.com/people/1234>
>>     a <http://schema.org/Person>;
>>     a <http://schema.org/FictionalThing> ;
>>     schema:name "Harry Potter";
>>     schema:affiliation "Hogwarts";
>>     schema:referencedIn ³Harry Potter and the Philosopherıs Stone².
> 
> Except for the referencedIn I mentioned above, yes. From this perspective, a
> Character class isn't necessary, but as I mentioned above, if you think (as I
> do) that a character property is required, then you need a way to describe
> what the value of that property can be.
> 
>> Iım no RDFS expert so the nuances of your explanation are not fully clear ­
>> however many of our [web page markup] audience are not even aware of RDFS.
>> 
>> The above feels like a simple solution to me (which may be simpler to use,
>> than describe using OWL & RDFS).
> 
> The RDFS Entailment stuff is more intended to motivate what the semantics of
> rangeIncludes and domainIncludes is. This is not something that should be
> exposed in the actual vocabulary, or anything that web developers need to
> know. But for those who want to reason over the vocabularies, we need a way of
> known precisely what is meant by rangeIncludes or domainIncludes. However,
> this is divergent from the main thrust of the proposal, but at some point we
> need to understand the meanings of these annotation properties.
> 
> Gregg
> 
>> ~Richard.
>> 
>> On 13/01/2013 09:05, "Gregg Kellogg" <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>> <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > wrote:
>> 
>>> Hi Richard,
>>> 
>>> On Jan 11, 2013, at 5:44 PM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org
>>> <x-msg://335/richard.wallis@oclc.org> > wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
>>>> Hi Gregg,
>>>> 
>>>> Sorry for replying to this one out of sequence, I have been thinking about
>>>> it and discussing it ;-)
>>>> 
>>>> You say ³From my understanding of RDFS, if I have a subject with two
>>>> different types, then I'm really saying that the properties associated with
>>>> this subject are the intersection of those two types.²
>>>> 
>>>> My understanding is that the result would be the union of the properties of
>>>> the two types, thus achieving the result I was suggesting.
>>> 
>>> Yes, of course you're right, I was confusing this with rdfs:subTypeOf. My
>>> concern is that if I wanted to describe properties on a fictional person, I
>>> would need to define a type which is the union of schema:Person and
>>> schema:FictionalThing, such as the following:
>>> 
>>> :FictionalPerson a [ a owl:Class; owl:unionOf (schema:Person
>>> schema:FictionalThing)] .
>>> 
>>>> I am confused by your actor example, as an actor would not normally be a
>>>> fictional Person, the character they portray would be.
>>> 
>>> I was using schema:actor as a property of a schema:Character. When I was
>>> saying that schema:actor had the domain of wikia:Character, I was saying
>>> that a Character may have an associated Actor; I think this is okay. If I
>>> had used rdfs:range instead of rdfs:domain, then it would be a problem.
>>> 
>>>> To satisfy your example of an actor portraying a fictional character, I
>>>> believe we may be looking for a type of Person ŒActorı that has a property
>>>> of Œportrayedı or Œcreatedı  that would have an expected type of Person.
>>>> When encoding your data you could then describe that person (your
>>>> character) as being of type Person and of type FictionalThing.
>>> 
>>> That "portrayed" is an appropriate inverse property of actor, as if a
>>> character has an Actor, an actor portrays a Character.
>>> 
>>>> To be successful we need to find a generic way of enabling any Œthingı to
>>>> be described as a FictionalThing ­ picking off individual solutions for
>>>> specific types of things such as a character simply wonıt scale.
>>> 
>>> Yes, I think that having such a generic mechanism is a good idea, it's just
>>> that if you want to start to describe properties on the "mixin" of Person
>>> and FictionalThing, though, you need to be able to describe the union type.
>>> I believe that this is the intent of schema:rangeIncludes/domainIncludes. I
>>> think that appropriate rules for these could be the following (although
>>> expressing it formally will require some more work.
>>> 
>>> For all classes ?c* which have a common subject and rdfs:rangeIncludes
>>> predicate, construct the following triples:
>>> 
>>> _:rangeClass a owl:Class; owl:unionOf (?c*)  . # same for domains
>>> 
>>> Actually constructing these statements is challenging because owl:unionOf
>>> takes a list rather than multiple repeated statements for each object.
>>> 
>>> Note that multiple properties having the same set of range/domainIncludes
>>> will result in multiple blank nodes, which entail each other, but are not
>>> equivalent nodes. Furthermore, actually using the property in a concrete
>>> instantiation uses an entailment rule that claims that the range is of an
>>> equivalent class
>>> 
>>> <JamesTKirk> schema:actor <WilliamShatner> .
>>> 
>>> would end up entailing
>>> 
>>> <JamesTKirk> a [ owl:Class; owl:unionOf (schema:Person
>>> schema:FictionalThing) ].
>>> 
>>> due to rule rdfs2
>>> 
>>> If it is appropriate for schema.org <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org
>>> <http://schema.org/> >  to define a something like a character property (in
>>> addition to the Performance property suggested by Yves), then I think it
>>> does need to define a schema:Character class, so that properties such as
>>> schema:actor can be ascribed to it. For schema definition purposes, in the
>>> spirit of not getting all pedantic about using OWL to do this
>>> representation, it might require adding something like a
>>> schema:classIncludes annotation property, similar to rangeIncludes and
>>> domainIncludes so we could assert:
>>> 
>>> schema:Character schema:classIncludes schema:Person, schema:FictionalThing .
>>> 
>>> Gregg
>>> 
>>>> ~Richard.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On 09/01/2013 21:14, "Gregg Kellogg" <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>> <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>> <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > > wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Hi Richard,
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Jan 9, 2013, at 1:38 AM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org
>>>>> <x-msg://335/richard.wallis@oclc.org>
>>>>> <x-msg://178/richard.wallis@oclc.org <x-msg://178/richard.wallis@oclc.org>
>>>>> > > wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>> Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
>>>>>> Starting from the point of view that most of the Œrealı types of things
>>>>>> we want to describe could have fictional equivalents ­ fictional people
>>>>>> (characters), fictional organisations, fictional places, fictional
>>>>>> products, fictional automobiles, fictional planets, fictional fizzy
>>>>>> drinks, fictional races, fictional religions, fictional songs, ...., ....
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I am thinking perhaps a more generic solution might be appropriate.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> What about a FictionalThing type. Probably a sub-type of Intangible,
>>>>>> having  createdIn and referencedIn properties both having an expected
>>>>>> type of CreativeWork.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> To describe something as fictional you would only have to add
>>>>>> FictionalThing as an alternativeType, or add a typeOf attribute in RDFa.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> That way we would not have to invent a new type for every new thing that
>>>>>> we find a fictional instance for.
>>>>> 
>>>>> I agree that there's a more general need here, and that anything could be
>>>>> fictional, but I think just adding another type doesn't really solve the
>>>>> problem. From my understanding of RDFS, if I have a subject with two
>>>>> different types, then I'm really saying that the properties associated
>>>>> with this subject are the intersection of those two types. It actually is
>>>>> sort of the reverse of this based on rdfs:domain and rdfs:range semantics.
>>>>> If I say the following:
>>>>> 
>>>>> schema:actor a rdf:Property
>>>>>   rdfs:domain schema:Person, schema:FictionalThing .
>>>>> 
>>>>> What I'm saying is that the property is on _both_ schema:Person and
>>>>> schema:FictionalThing. In general, I don't want 'actor' to be a property
>>>>> of either schema:Person or schema:Thing. Dan's introduced the notion of
>>>>> schema:rangeIncludes to address this problem, but the semantics haven't
>>>>> entirely been worked out yet. This issue is, is there a similar
>>>>> schema:typeIncludes that uses something closer to owl:unionOf semantics.
>>>>> But, using schema:additionalType (or @typeof with RDFa) won't do this,
>>>>> AFAIK.
>>>>> 
>>>>> The way I had actually modeled Character for Wikia was closer to the
>>>>> following:
>>>>> 
>>>>> wikia:Character a owl:Class
>>>>>   rdfs:subClassOf [ a owl:Class; owl:unionOf schema:CreativeWork,
>>>>> schema:Person ] .
>>>>> 
>>>>> This basically allows me to define properties on wikia:Character that done
>>>>> "infect" schema:Person or schema:CreativeWork.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Gregg
>>>>> 
>>>>>> ~Richard.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On 09/01/2013 02:04, "Jason Douglas" <jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>> <x-msg://335/jasondouglas@google.com>
>>>>>> <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>> <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com> >
>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com>
>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com> > > > wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM, Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>>>> <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>>>> <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>>>> >  <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > > > wrote:
On Jan 8, 2013, at 5:43 PM, Jason Douglas <jasondouglas@google.com
<x-msg://335/jasondouglas@google.com>  <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com
<x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com> >
<x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com>
<x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com>
> > > wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net
<x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net
<x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >  <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
<x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
<x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > > > wrote:
> TL:DR: propose adding schema:Character, schema:Location, and
schema:FictionalLocation classes, along with a schema:character property.
>
> In the work I'm doing with Wikia, we're using extensions to schema.org
<http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/> >
<http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/> >
<http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/>
<http://schema.org/> >  to add structure to Wiki content. Wikia hosts hundreds
of thousands of wiki's, mostly related to special-interest subjects. Important
classes of these include sites about Movies, TV Shows/Series and Video Games.
>
> Cool!!
>
>
> The schema.org <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/> >
<http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/> >
<http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/>
<http://schema.org/> >  vocabulary is pretty useful in doing this but lacks some
important properties and types:
>
> Character class: a Character is a subclass of Person, which is intended to
represent some fictional character. This could include fictional human
characters, such as Sam Spade, as well as non-human characters, such as "The Cat
in the Hat". As such, it could also be considered to be a union of
schema:CreativeWork and schema:Person. Alternatively, it may simply be a
sub-class of Creative Work which simply has some properties in common with
Person (birthDate, colleague, gender, ...). Note that books can also have
characters.
>
> Character property: An important characteristic of things such as movies, and
TV shows is the characters that are in them. For instance, TVEpisode has actor,
director, producer and so forth, but no way to indicate the characters that are
in the show. Here is where having Character class comes in handy, so that you
might have the following:
>
> <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Where_No_Man_Has_Gone_Before_(episode)>
>   a schema:TVEpisode;
>   schema:name "Where No Man Has Gone Before"@en;
>   schema:partOfTVSeries
<http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series>;
>   schema:character <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/James_T._Kirk>;
>   schema:actor <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/William_Shatner> .
>
> One downside of this is that when you have multiple characters you lose the
ability to correlate the actor to the character.

In the example below, I set schema:actor on the character
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> ah, missed that.
>>>>>>>  
, but it's obviously loosing some temporal information. More complex
modeling can be more accurate, but within the context of a single graph
(e.g., for a specific episode), we can probably simplify it that there is a
signal actor for each character, or at least a set of actors.

> An alternative, that Freebase uses, is to create a class for Performance, that
has the properties of character (expects Character has you defined) and actor
(which works the same as actor on today).

This is sort of like an Event, which acts to join various elements together
(characters and actors in this case), perhaps along with elements such as
scenes and locations. I like the idea of having a Performance class, but
there may be times when simpler modeling works.

> Connecting that to TVEpisode could be done with either a new "performance"
property or by making actor accept Person or Performance.
>
>
> <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/James_T._Kirk> a schema:Character
>   schema:name "James T. Kirk";
>   schema:birthDate "2233-03-22"^^xsd:date;
>   schema:deathDate "2371"^^xsd:gYear;
>   schema:actor <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/William_Shatner> .
>
> Another class of properties generally useful for works of media classes is
Location. A schema:Location class could be a sub-class of schema:Place, intended
to describe locations that might not be real, or not at least not having
geographic coordinates you can get to using Goole Maps. A location could also be
a Fictional Location, such as Middle Earth.
>
> Lastly, many wiki's concern themselves with Video Games, which have quite deep
structure. Logically, a Video Game is probably a sub-class of
schema:SoftwareApplication. Of course, there are many other things that could be
modeled on video games, such as levels, objectives and weapons, but having a
concrete class for describing them would be quite useful.
>
> Since the Wikia communities are the real domain experts here do you think
there's any chance they could enumerate these in a public schema.org
<http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/> >
<http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/> >
<http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/>
<http://schema.org/> >  extension proposal?

This post was an attempt to get that started, and the most obvious missing
pieces are for Character and Location, along with the character
relationship.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Agreed, those are needed incremental additions.
>>>>>>>  

Video Games is a deeper subject, and we can share the work we're doing, but
it will be a more substantive proposal. I'd really like to use it to get a
conversation with other people who have worked on modeling games. Our
current focus has been on linear first-person shooter style games, but much
of the work carries over to open-world/parallel mission environments too.
We'll come back with more on this in the future.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Yeah, Video Games is where I was hoping for a more "substantive
>>>>>>> proposal" as you say.  Sounds good.
>>>>>>> 

Gregg

> -jason
>
>
> Gregg Kellogg
> gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
<x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >
<x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
<x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > >
>
>
>

>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
> 
> 
Received on Monday, 14 January 2013 11:00:41 GMT

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