The News Storyline Ontology wants to make it easier for journalists to deal with the world as they understand it – that is, in terms of stories and curated narrative arcs over world events. The ontology aims to be a generic model for describing and organizing the stories news organizations tell, while supporting whatever their approach is to handling those stories. It provides, in other words, a model for the news itself: how different stories relate to each other, how breaking news evolves and how the commonplace entities of people, places, organizations and events relate to news stories.
“The first benefit is for the news organization itself to organize things, but it also lets them put together web pages more flexibly and closer to the way we access information as humans,” says Jarred McGinnis, one of the authors of the ontology. Formerly head of research, semantic technologies at Press Association, he is now an independent consultant in semantics at his firm Logomachy Ltd. Fellow authors are Jeremy Tarling, BBC News data architect, and a former BBCer, Paul Wilton, previously technical lead, semantic publishing and now founder and technical architect at Ontoba, which specializes in semantic publishing.