An Ontology of Chinese Ceramic Vases

Tong Wei, Tong Wei, Christophe Roche, Christophe Roche, Maria Papadopoulou, Maria Papadopoulou, Yangli Jia

Abstract

Extensive collections of Chinese ceramic vases are housed in museums throughout China. They could serve as rich sources of data for historical research. Although some data sources have been digitized, the vision of heritage institutions is not only to display objects and simple descriptions (drawn from metadata) but also to allow for understanding relationships between objects (created by semantically interrelated metadata). The key to achieving this goal is to utilize the technologies of the Semantic Web, whose core is Ontology. The focus of this paper is to describe the construction of the TAO CI (“ceramics” in Chinese) ontology of the domain of ceramic vases of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The theoretical and methodological approach adopted to construct the TAO CI ontology is term-and-characteristic guided, i.e., it relies on a morphological analysis of the Chinese terms used in the domain, and respects the ISO principles on Terminology (ISO 1087 and 704), according to which concepts are defined by means of essential characteristics. The research presented in this article aims to publish the resulting structured data on the Semantic Web for the use of anybody interested, including museums hosting collections of these vessels, and to enrich existing methodologies on domain ontology building. To our knowledge, there are no comprehensive ontologies for Chinese ceramic vases. TAO CI ontology remedies this gap and provides a reference for ontology building in other domains of Chinese cultural heritage. The tool used is Protégé. The TAO CI ontology is open access here: http://www.dh.ketrc.com/otcontainer/data/OTContainer.owl.

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