An Ontological Approach to Creating an Andean Weaving Knowledge Base
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Andean textiles are products of one of the richest, oldest and continuous weaving traditions in the world. Understanding the knowledge and practice of textile production as a form of cultural heritage is particularly relevant in the Andean context due to erosion of clothing traditions, reuse of traditional textiles on commodities targeted at the tourism market, and loss of knowledge embedded in textile production. "Weaving Communities of Practice" was a pilot project that aimed to create a knowledge base of Andean weaving designed to contribute to curatorial practice and heritage policy. The research team gathered data on the chain of activities, instruments, resources, peoples, places and knowledge involved in the production of textiles, relating to over 700 textile samples. A major part of the project has been the modelling and representation of the knowledge of domain experts and information about the textile objects themselves in the form of an OWL ontology, and the development of a suite of search facilities to be supported by the ontology. This paper describes the research challenges faced in developing the ontology and search facilities, the methodology adopted, the design and implementation of the system, and the design and outcomes of a user evaluation of the system undertaken with a group of domain experts. © 2015 ACM.