A Platform for Symbolically Encoding Human Narratives

David K. Elson, Kathleen R. McKeown

We present Scheherazade, a foundational platform for narrative intelligence that formally represents stories. The system draws upon prior theoretical work on the morphology of narrative without imposing a particular narrative domain or task a priori. Instead, while keeping narrative semantics separate and immutable, it provides a framework for the tools that build upon it to define world knowledge on a per-task basis. The system models semantics such as timelines, states, events, characters and goals, and can detect thematic patterns in both the deep content of the story (i.e., the fabula) and the manner of the story's telling (the sujzhet). We also present a sample tool that utilizes the platform to assist users who are unfamiliar with narratology to symbolically encode stories into this representation. A formative evaluation of this tool shows that technical and non-technical users can successfully encode a traditional fable using its graphical interface.

Subjects: 1. Applications; 11. Knowledge Representation

Submitted: Sep 14, 2007