Introduction by OpenMethods Editor (Marinella Testori): Among the Nominees in the ‘Best DH Dataset’ of the DH Awards 2020, the TAO IC Project (http://www.dh.ketrc.com/index.html) leads us in a fascinating journey through the world of Chinese ceramics. The project, which is developed in a collaborative way at the Knowledge Engineering & Terminology Research Center of Liaocheng (http://ketrc.com/), exploits an onto-terminology-based approach to build an e-dictionary of Chinese vessels.
Do you want to know every detail about a ‘Double-gourd Vase I’? If you consult ‘Class’ in the ‘Ontology’ section (http://www.dh.ketrc.com/class.html), you can discover the component, the function, from what such a vessel is made of, and what is the method to fire it. If you also wish to see how the vase appears, under ‘Individuals’ of the same section you can read a full description of it and, also, see a picture (http://www.dh.ketrc.com/class.html). All this information is collected in the e-dictionary for each beautiful item belonging to the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Methodological reflections and decisions of the ontology design are highlighted in the abstract of the book chapter: Wei et al (2020): An Ontology of Chinese Ceramic Vases:
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.
The project, at the interface of Cultural Heritage and Knowledge Representation, will provide help especially to archaeologists, which will be enabled to identify every item and its characteristics in various languages without any problem.
Because a Double-gourd Vase I is not the same as a Long-necked Vase!
P.S.: Following sustainable data sharing practices, it would be great to see the valuable datasets published also in a data repository.
The official TAO IC Project website: http://www.dh.ketrc.com/
Tong WEI, C.Roche, Yangli Jia, M. Papadopoulou (2020.11) “An Ontology of Chinese Ceramic Vases“,12th International Conference on Knowledge Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development.
Original date of publication: 2020.11.