Storyline Data Model: Sharing the ontology for BBC News

Wednesday 12 June 2013, 08:00

Robin Pembrooke Robin Pembrooke Head of Product

Tagged with:

I’m Robin Pembrooke and I’ve recently joined the BBC as the new head of product for News and Weather in Future Media.

In my first blog post I’m going to be telling you about a new data model concept called Storyline which we hope will provide the basis for innovative online journalism partnerships.

storyline_1024.jpg Conceptual representation of the Storyline Model

For more details about the above image please see the BBC Ontologies page.

The BBC believes in distributing its work to the wider industry in order to benefit users and other online publishers.

One aspect of this is the thinking around the use of metadata in BBC News stories, how we tag our articles, pictures and video clips to make our content easier to find and more accessible

This year a group of like-minded data architects from a number of UK publishers, including The Guardian and The Press Association, have been informally working on a data model that supports how stories like these are told and they’ve found a lot of common ground in their thinking.

They’ve created what looks like a really interesting and viable model which we’re beginning to build prototype services around. The model has been provisionally called Storyline and we’ve published it on this page alongside other BBC Ontologies.

We believe it will help create more compelling user experiences about evolving News stories, particularly in showing how stories develop over time.

We’re interested in exploring how this could be used as a tool to drive co-operation on stories between different news organisations.

Do get in touch with either myself or Jeremy Tarling if you would like to be involved. We’re very interested to hear views from other news and media companies on how the model could evolve in a way that benefits everyone.

This is a first step in what we hope will be an ongoing programme of active partnership activity from the BBC News Online team both in the UK and overseas. I will be interested to hear your feedback.

Robin Pembrooke is head of product for BBC News and Weather.

Tagged with:


Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Can you explain the difference between a linked-data ontology and a data model?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Since you say that you want "the model could evolve in a way that benefits everyone". I hope that includes photographers. The BBC harvest a great number of photographs every day and certainly in the past has published photographs without credit to the photographer (never mind payment) and without metadata that would identify the photographer and prevent the photograph becoming orphaned.

    If you propose to licence-on photographs as part of a cooperative "story" model how do you respect the moral rights of the photographer who would strongly object to their photograph being used to promote certain ideas and political opinions that much of the print media seem to be obsessed with.

    I imagine that the BBC would what to be paid for the "story" or what ever media thatsuppliesplys so what mechanisms are to be put in place where the photographer is also paid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Sorry, iSpell rather mashed up the last sentence - it should read:

    "I imagine that the BBC would what to be paid for the "story" or what ever media that it supplies so what mechanisms are to be put in place where the photographer is also paid."

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    @twofivepie I think at the BBC we use the terms 'data model' and 'ontology' interchangeably to mean a description of the things represented in a computer system together with their properties and relationships; these are typically "real world" things such as people, places, or events.

    Linked data on the other hand is not dependent upon a data model or ontology but rather on the use of unique identifiers (URIs) and other aspects recommended by Tim Bernes-Lee here:



This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

BBC Food: Your Favourites

Tuesday 11 June 2013, 14:01

The Secret Life of the Cat: Interactive infographics

Thursday 13 June 2013, 07:00

About this Blog

Staff from the BBC's online and technology teams talk about BBC Online, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and the BBC's digital and mobile services. The blog is reactively moderated. Your host is Nick Reynolds.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Links about BBC Online

BBC Internet blog Archive

owl-plain-112.jpg 2012 ι 2011 ι 2010 ι 2009 ι 2008 ι 2007

Tags for archived posts