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Soap operas and the semantic web: 

Soap operas and the semantic web Celia Romaniuk Information Architect BBC [email protected]


SUDS SUDS is Used to Describe Soaps Originated because of EastEnders site redesign Applicable to content of a similar genre


EastEnders? 14 million viewers, 20 years, run by BBC Prime time soap opera Gritty, realistic, character driven

EastEnders vs American soaps: 

EastEnders vs American soaps “EastEnders differs from American soaps by its relentless emphasis on the mundane and nitty-gritty details of working class life … among ordinary-looking (rather than attractive) and relatively unsuccessful people.” (from

Content Management Project: 

Content Management Project Redesign of web site Content modelling and metadata Controlled vocabularies, CM policy Relationship modelling


FOAF ‘Friend of a Friend’ Way of describing people and their relationships in XML/RDF A semantic web vocabulary or ‘ontology’ SUDS extends FOAF



RDF Triples: 

RDF Triples

FOAF classes: 

FOAF classes person organisation document project

FOAF properties: 

FOAF properties Given name Surname Nickname person Literal Publications Weblog Knows person document person person

SUDS classes: 

SUDS classes person organisation character family programme location award event

An RDF Model: character: 

An RDF Model: character Laura person Beale Hannah Waterman

An RDF Model: event: 

An RDF Model: event 1999-02-02 event

An RDF Model: programme: 

An RDF Model: programme 1999-02-02

Why model relationships?: 

Why model relationships? Content creation and maintenance Current process: Episode database Personal memory Volunteers c.f. The Archers

Character profiles & family trees: 

Character profiles & family trees

Users’ questions: 

Users’ questions Characters How many wives has Ian had? Characters and locations Who have all the Queen Vic landlords been? People and programmes We hear about Phil's father a lot but has he ever appeared in the show? Why did Frank leave? Which characters have appeared in other TV shows? Which actors have played Mark Fowler? Secrets Does Steven know that Ian is not his real father?

Content views: 

Content views Timelines Characters Families Locations Guides to events Past Valentine’s Days Weddings


Methods Content indexing Search log analysis Ontology research Collaboration

Early model: 

Early model Character Programme Award Actor Location Character married to brother of slept with shot etc owns lives at works at appears in changes develops plays appears in wins nominated for Storyline Episode

Storylines: Hero’s Journey: 

Storylines: Hero’s Journey Separation Initiation Transformation Return

Storylines: Seasons: 

Storylines: Seasons

Storylines: Soap operas: 

Storylines: Soap operas Programme

On cliffhangers: 

On cliffhangers Episode Cliffhanger Episode Cliffhanger Episode Cliffhanger

An RDF Model: event: 

An RDF Model: event 1999-02-02 date event marriage

Episode update: 

Episode update

Modelling constraints: secret properties: 

Modelling constraints: secret properties Secrets Visible (known to all) Secret (from characters but known to audience) - e.g. gives birth to; gender; girlfriend/boyfriend of Embargoed (not to be made known to audience until a certain date e.g. Kat and Zoe) Need to keep historical state of the world. Scalability Connect people through an event where possible


Implementation Schema RDF files (RDFAuthor) Query tool Iteration

What next?: 

What next? Further development Content sharing Other soaps



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