The scope of this ontology is the representation of heterogeneous media through description of the semantic content of that media. The representation may be limited to the description of some or all of the elements contained within the source or may include information regarding the narrative relationship that these elements have both to the media and to each other.
Why do we want to describe content? Bibliographic data is necessary for accurate attribution and to categorise works. Without it our system of identifying and describing works of media would collapse. Since this system has been working successfully up until this time the question arises as to why, with that information available, it is now also necessary to describe content.
Before the Internet the way we interacted with media, especially text, was different. It is now possible for readers to have easy access to the type of details that previously would have been impractical to search for due to the sheer effort it would have taken to collect and correlate.
In a presentation given at the AKT Southampton Workshop 25th January 2005, Prof Hendler exempliﬁed the type of query commonly used between people and which the semantic web might also be able to understand as "what was that movie with the short henchman who decapitates a statue with his bowler hat?" A person hearing that query, if they have any familiarity with the movie in question, will immediately think of the famous scene in the Bond movie Goldﬁnger. However, it is not the type of query that one can enter into a system like the Internet Movie Database despite the vast array of bibliographic data that they have stored on ﬁlms and television series. While this example relates to multimedia it can equally apply to text or images for example "what is that story where the hero has a portrait of himself that changes?" or "what is that book with a lamppost in the middle of a wood and it is always winter?". The questions could deliberately be more vague such as "which books have the main character making a deal with the devil?" or "which myths contain the world being created from body parts?". The former examples are more useful to track down a particular story while the latter are useful for comparative studies of literature, ﬁctional or mythological.
The OntoMedia ontology is a step towards answering these sorts of questions and to go beyond that into the relationships that exist within and between the elements within heterogeneous media.
The first version ontology model was created by K Faith Lawrence, Michael Jewell and Mischa Tuffield as part of their doctoral research at the University of Southampton.