Re: FictionalThing proposal added to Web Schemas wiki

As I understand it, the BBC's internal archive classification scheme wrestled with precisely this issue  in the end it settled on 'people', 'fictional people' and 'religious entities', with some fairly clear guidelines about what to do if there was doubt about which of latter two somewhere should sit (and all three were considered mutually exclusive). At least then the consumer of the data can deal with the information as it sees fit.

I'll readily admit it's by no means an easy thing to settle, however: what about real people appearing 'as themselves' in a fictional work? The person themselves is as real as you or I, but the events in which they participate are fictional. I don't think we ever quite solved that one in the archive classifications.


On Tue 2013-Feb-19, at 15:00, "LeVan,Ralph" <>

> Not only is it slippery, but potentially offensive.  As I think over the
> list of names described as fictional in WorldCat Identities, I run into
> polite variants.  "Deity" for instance.  Is Krishna "fictional"?  We
> have his as a "Hindu deity".  Using this markup, are we going to mark
> them as fictional, or have to propose another property?
> Looking at the list of most frequently occurring words for our Subject
> names, I see that the top one is not "fictitious", but "character".
> That looks to me like the library community has made a distinction
> between them over the years.  Are we going to combine them here?  (Yes,
> I know this is better discussed on the Bibframe list, but the subject
> came up here.)  Other top terms include: deity, legendary, mythology,
> biblical, and imaginary.  As you can see, these are words to dance
> around the use of "fictional".
> Honestly, I'm not sure where to come down here.  I like the proposal for
> a fictional attribute.  I'm just not sure that we can give clear
> guidance on where it should be used.
> Ralph
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf Of Ed
> Summers
> Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 9:29 AM
> To: Wallis,Richard
> Cc: Michael Hopwood; Dawson, Laura; Martin Hepp; Thad Guidry; Web
> Schemas TF; Gregg Kellogg
> Subject: Re: FictionalThing proposal added to Web Schemas wiki
> I agree with Martin about "fictional" being a pretty slippery slope.
> But I am kind of curious about how people who are advocating for
> FictionalThing anticipate it getting used.
> //Ed
> On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM, Richard Wallis
> <> wrote:
>> In pure data terms I partly agree with you - there is no difference
>> between the description of a real or fictional thing.  Except one of
>> them has the attribute of being fictional.
>> In describing an identity, especially from the world of creative
>> works, there is an obvious difference between real and fictional
>> things - which we humans are interested in and need to describe.
>> For example the first line from Sir John Falstaff's Wikipedia entry
> reads:
>> "Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in ...."
>> It is fine for him to have an ISNI, something that could link to a
>> description that indicates that he is fictional.
>> The fact that James White, used the same string of characters as a
>> pseudonym is an attribute of the descriptions of each of them - not an
>> attribute of the name itself.
>> This proposal came out of need to describe characters, or other
> fictional
>> things, in film/tv metadata.   A need that I believe is more generic
> than
>> that focussed requirement.
>> ~Richard.
>> On 19/02/2013 13:32, "Michael Hopwood" <> wrote:
>>> Hmmm. I've followed this fascinating thread at a distance but I
>>> thought it's a reasonable point to chime in; it's not so much the
>>> edge cases, it's that in this context, everything is an edge case.
>>> In all the relevant ontologies and schemas I've dealt with, there
>>> simply is no fundamental difference; for example, Sir John Falstaff
>>> has an ISNI, although he's fictional; he's also a literary pseudonym
> of James White...
>>> The reason for this is that in data, you don't describe actual people
>>> (maybe FOAF or VCARD are exceptions), you describe public identities.
>>> You can only tell the real ones from the fictional from their
>>> relationships; their properties are the same.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Dawson, Laura []
>>> Sent: 19 February 2013 12:50
>>> To: Martin Hepp
>>> Cc: Thad Guidry; Richard Wallis; Web Schemas TF; Gregg Kellogg
>>> Subject: Re: FictionalThing proposal added to Web Schemas wiki
>>> There are many edge cases, but I think there are enough
>>> straightforward cases to warrant the attempt.

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Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 15:08:00 UTC