The ontology system is an application of the PhD project of Amélie Zöllner-Weber at Bielefeld University (Publications).
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The definition of an ontology originates from philosophy and was transferred to the field of artitficial intelligence. In philosophy, it is tried to explain the existence of things in the world by using ontological principles. In the field of AI the definition of an ontology underwent a semantic change. In AI an ontology is defined as the modelling of concepts of the real world in computer systems. An ontology comprises hierarchically structured concepts of a part of the 'world', called 'domain'. Usually, an ontology is formed by classes, properties, and restrictions. The relation of the classes is represented by the hierarchy of the ontology. By adding the so called instances, individual objects of a class can be realised.
The system is an application of an ontology, a class system, in the Humanities. The approach combines literature studies and text technology. By applying an ontology, literary characters are represented formally. The categories of the ontology are derived from theories for the description and analysis of literary characters. This ontology system has been set up which enables users to search for and to compare literary characters and to include the description of characters.
By using methods of a formal ontology the rather new aspect of comparing literary characters visually can be introduced into this field. Another aspect is to use such a text-technological application for describing literary characters formally. Moreover, a platform for discussing and accessing different mental representations of characters has been created. Concluding, this leads to new and individual perspectives on literary characters. By offering this system on the Internet, the possibility of using and sharing the ontology is given.