The Neoclassica-ontology offers a formalized encoding of domain-expert knowledge in order to make it accessible to complex research questions with the use of a computer. The ontology establishes a controlled vocabulary that takes into consideration the following aspects: It is both research-oriented and multilingual, it reflects the different shape of the represented concepts in different languages in a synthetic approach, it reflects the historical semantics of the concepts and it provides a synthetic framework for describing architectural features of the built environment and of the furnishings contained therein.
Currently the ontology contains hierarchies describing types of artefacts and their components as well as the relationship that will permit to describe the structure of the objects in terms of their parts. At the moment it is chiefly focused on furniture as well as architectural concepts that can be applied to furniture components. Furthermore we adopted specific concepts and relationships from CIDOC-CRM for the documentation of materials, techniques, events, persons, places, periods and conceptual objects. We are extending these concepts for our specific domain requirements.
Specifically, we expanded the E22 Man-Made Object hierarchy to include a detailed taxonomy describing our domain.
The central concept of the ontology is currently the Artefact subclass E22 Man-Made Object of which includes all material objects that of interest in Neoclassica. Artefact is further specialized in Built design artefact , Furnishing, and Component. The first two classes correspond to our focus on architecture and furnishing (furniture and objects like lighting devices, stationery, and table furnishing), while the last one (Component ) describes everything that is always recognised as part of an object. Since, for the time being, we focus mainly on furniture the Built design artefact is mainly a placeholder.
Furnishing concerns material artefacts introduced into particular spaces for the purpose of making them usable, habitable or comfortable and agreeable, and is specialized into Fixture (furnishing fixed in the walls, the ceiling or the floor and cannot be taken down without, in some degree, injuring or disfiguring an edifice), Furniture , Interior lighting device , Mirror , Soft furnishing (e.g. carpets, pillows, etc.), Table furnishing and Container.
Component is further specialized into Architectural element which can be broken down only to geometrical forms (like arches, mouldings and panels), and Architectural feature which describes components that are aggregates of architectural elements and/or other architectural features (e.g. legs, doors, drawers).
Architectural is used with the generic meaning of building/constructing material artefacts. Furniture is further specialized into Campaign, Children’s, Container Seating, Sleeping, Support, and Writing furniture, while Fixture specializes in classes that describe brackets, ceiling lights and chandeliers, mantelpieces, etc.
Regarding the Component hierarchy, the Architectural element comprises of Framing element (cartouche, medallion, panel, etc), Ornament acroterion,finial, etc) and Structural element (arch, corner, moulding, etc). Architectural feature includes parts of furniture that are of more complex forms, like legs and feet, doors, drawers, etc.
Artefacts are linked to their components through the is-composed-of relationship.
This part of the ontology is developed having in mind the Knowledge Discovery part, since it can be used to annotate images of pieces of furniture, in order to provide an annotated corpus for it.