Introducing narratives in Europeana: A case study

  • 1 Networked Multimedia Information Systems Laboratory, Institute of Information Science and Technologies “Alessandro Faedo”—CNR, 56124, Pisa, Italy


We present a preliminary study to introduce narratives as a first-class functionality in digital libraries. The general idea is to enrich those libraries with semantic networks of events providing a meaningful contextualisation of the digital libraries’ objects. More specific motivations are presented through a set of use cases by different actors who would benefit from using narratives for different purposes. Then, we consider a specific digital library, Europeana, the largest European digital library in the cultural heritage domain. We discuss how the Europeana Data Model could be extended for representing narratives, and we introduce an ontology for narratives. We also present a semi-automatic tool, which, on the basis of the ontology, supports the creation and visualisation of narratives, and we show how the tool has been employed to create a narrative of the life of the painter Gustav Klimt as a case study. In particular, we focus our attention on the functionality of the tool that allows extracting and proposing to the user specific digital objects for each event of the narrative.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Allen, J.F. (1984). Towards a general theory of action and time, Artificial Intelligence 23(2): 123–154.

  • Bal, M. (2009). Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

  • Bartalesi, V., Meghini, C. and Metilli, D. (2017). A conceptualisation of narratives and its expression in the CRM, International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies 12(1): 35–46.

  • Buckland, M. and Gey, F. (1994). The relationship between recall and precision, Journal of the American Society for Information Science 45(1): 12.

  • Clough, P., Hill, T., Paramita, M.L. and Goodale, P. (2017). Europeana: What users search for and why, International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, Thessaloniki, Greece, pp. 207–219.

  • Damerau, F.J. (1964). A technique for computer detection and correction of spelling errors, Communications of the ACM 7(3): 171–176.

  • Doerr, M. (2003). The CIDOC conceptual reference module: An ontological approach to semantic interoperability of metadata, AI Magazine 24(3): 75.

  • Doerr, M., Gradmann, S., Hennicke, S., Isaac, A., Meghini, C. and van de Sompel, H. (2010). The Europeana Data Model (EDM), World Library and Information Congress: 76th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, Gothenburg, Sweden, pp. 10–15.

  • Europeana (2014). Results of the Europeana user survey 2014, Technical report, Europeana,

  • Fernie, K., Griffiths, J., Stevenson, M., Clough, P., Goodale, P., Hall, M., Archer, P., Chandrinos, K., Agirre, E., de Lacalle, O.L., de Polo, A. and Bergheim, R. (2012). PATHS: Personalising access to cultural heritage spaces, 18th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM), Milan, Italy, pp. 469–474.

  • Herman, D. (2011). Basic Elements of Narrative, John Wiley & Sons, Oxford.

  • Levenshtein, V.I. (1966). Binary codes capable of correcting deletions, insertions, and reversals, Soviet Physics Doklady 10(8): 707–710.

  • Mannocci, A., Casarosa, V., Manghi, P. and Zoppi, F. (2014). The Europeana network of ancient Greek and Latin epigraphy data infrastructure, Research Conference on Metadata and Semantics Research, Karlsruhe, Germany, pp. 286–300.

  • McGuinness, D.L. and Van Harmelen, F. (2004). OWL web ontology language overview, W3C Recommendation 10(10): 2004.

  • Meghini, C., Bartalesi, V., Metilli, D. and Benedetti, F. (2017). Introducing narratives in Europeana: Preliminary steps, in T. Morzy et al. (Eds.), Advances in Databases and Information Systems, Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp. 333–342.

  • Petras, V., Hill, T., Stiller, J. and Gade, M. (2017). Europeana, a search engine for digitised cultural heritage material, Datenbank Spektrum 17(1): 41–46.

  • Ruotsalo, T. and Hyvönen, E. (2007). An event-based approach for semantic metadata interoperability, in K. Aberer et al. (Eds.), The Semantic Web, Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp. 409–422.

  • Shaw, R., Troncy, R. and Hardman, L. (2009). LODE: Linking open descriptions of events, Asian Semantic Web Conference, Shanghai, China, pp. 153–167.

  • Van Hage, W.R., Malaisé, V., Segers, R., Hollink, L. and Schreiber, G. (2011). Design and use of the simple event model (SEM), Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web 9(2): 128–136.

  • Vrandečić, D. and Krötzsch, M. (2014). Wikidata: A free collaborative knowledge base, Communications of the ACM 57(10): 78–85.


Journal + Issues