Ontology-Based Narratives of the Girija Kalyana
The important aspect of intangible heritage are the classical stories and folklores which have been passed down over the ages through classical texts, scriptures and word of mouth. The story of Girija Kalyana, which describes various events linked to the marriage of Indian goddess Parvati to God Shiva, is one of such stories from the intangible heritage of India. Every such story has numerous manifestations in tangible heritage artefacts such as statues depicting story characters; mural paintings depicting events in the story; monuments and locations related to aspects of the storyline. Similar depictions of the story are found in intangibles like dance performances, theatre, folk-art and living traditions. In this chapter, we discuss a new paradigm in digital heritage preservation which engages semantic web techniques to offer an immersive and experiential exploration of a heritage theme. A story can have different narratives, each of which, offers a different perspective with reflections in mythology, art and architecture, literature, rituals and crafts, and social and geographical linkages. These narratives can be presented to users with the help of a reasoning framework, based on a domain ontology which provides the means to encode the rich, scholarly knowledge existing with cultural heritage experts. The ontology also enables semantic linkages between digital artefacts in various media formats through curated, semantic annotation. Multimedia Web Ontology Language (MOWL) representation of the heritage ontology permits perceptual modelling of domain concepts in terms of their observable media properties. The language has media propagation rules which allow specification of a semantic concept to be extended to its related concepts in the ontology, and thus helps to widen the scope of concept recognition in media. The ontology-based framework provides a digital infrastructure for a virtual user interface offering an intellectual exploration of the heritage theme in space and time with ontology-guided navigation.
We would like to acknowledge the help extended to us in this work, by renowned cultural anthropologist Dr. Uma V. Chandru of the Indian Institute for Art, Culture and Democracy (IIACD), Bengaluru and by Hampi folklore scholar Dr. Chaluvaraju, Associate Professor at the Department of Tribal Studies, Kannada University, Hampi. They contributed greatly by helping us compile and fine-tune the domain ontology of the Girija Kalyana theme, and also contributed most of the cultural content for the research prototype demo of the same. Visual content for the demo was also provided by National Institute of Design (NID), Bangalore, and IDH team from National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru.
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