Heckling at Ontologies is a collaboration between MAT researchers Toby Harris and Saul Albert exploring the dissonance between top-down and bottom-up approaches to media metadata generation.

The project started with two datasets:

A semantic description of Season 4, Episode 1 of Doctor Who

This was one of the outcomes of Toby’s industrial placement at the BBC, which developed an ontology for rich description of BBC programme content and then used it to create a highly detailed summary of a specific episode of Doctor Who.

User-generated tweets ‘heckled’ at the screen by viewers

As part of Saul’s industrial placement at BT, he worked with The People Speak to develop Heckle, a web service that gathers tweets, images, videos and texts ‘heckled’ to a shared screen by viewers of a TV show, building up a reviewable transcript of the conversation.

These two data sets were analysed comparatively, to discover the dissonances and regularities between Toby’s top-down and Saul’s bottom-up descriptions of the same TV show.

They are building a demo that shows the two data sets superimposed on a live stream of the video. You can download the source of the demo and grab copics of semantic data on the ontoheckle github page.




Saul Albert is a researcher in QMUL's Cognitive Science research group.

Current research topic: Accounting for taste: aesthetic assessment in conversation

The intuition that aesthetic responses are ’subjective’, individual reactions to specific sensory stimuli often motivates research into the neural, cognitive or physiological underpinnings of aesthetic response. However, these approaches often ignore the wealth of information about people’s aesthetic responses available in social interactions and conversations around viewing or discussing artworks. This research uses Conversation Analytic techniques to explore the ways in which aesthetic assessments are accomplished in conversation, focussing on a corpus of natural conversational fragments between visitors, recorded during an exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London.