Narrative and Semantics Group
Understanding the meaning of documents, scripts and online content by
computer-aided analysis of their structure and text
We apply advanced mathematical and computational methods (based on
quantitative data analysis) to the analysis of narrative, to reveal
its deep structure.
The data analysis platform developed by the renowned geometric data analyst,
Jean-Paul Benzécri, provides us with core methodological tools.
These are augmented by the data analysis applications of Benzécri's
work by the
acclaimed social scientist, Pierre Bourdieu. We compare these results with
the theoretical and methodological approaches of different humanities
disciplines to devise tools for the analysis of the structure of narrative
in a new and fundamentally cross disciplinary approach.
Videos, Videocasts, Software
- Correspondence Analysis of the movie Casablanca, for
displaying and tracking emotion:
- Hierarchical reading visualization program, with sample books.
Videocast of presentation
"Metric and Ultrametric Modelling of Semantics and Change for Decision Making in Dynamic and Interactive Environments", by
Fionn Murtagh and Adam Ganz, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, 7 October
Publications of Ours on Narrative Include ...
- F. Murtagh, A. Ganz and J. Reddington, "Semantics from narrative: state
of the art and future perspectives", in M. Gettler Summa, L. Bottou, B.
Goldfarb, F. Murtagh, C. Pardoux and M. Touati, Eds.,
Learning and Data Science, Chapman & Hall/CRC Press, 2011,
- F. Murtagh, A. Ganz and J. Reddington,
"New methods of analysis and semantics in support of interactivity",
Entertainment Computing, 2, 115-121, 2011.
- A. Ganz,
"Leaping broken narration: Ballads, oral
storytelling and the cinema", in L. Khatib, ed., Storytelling in
World Cinema, Volume 1: Forms, Wallflower Press, 71-85, 2011.
- F. Murtagh and A. Ganz, "Semantics from narrative", in S. Bolasco,
I. Chiari and L. Giuliano, Eds., Statistical Analysis of Textual
Data, Proceedings of 10th International Conference JADT Journées
d'Analyse statistique des Données Textuelles, 9-11 June
2010, Sapienza University of Rome, Vol. 1, pp. 443-453,
LED Edizioni Universitarie
di Lettere Economia Diritto, Milan, 2010.
- F. Murtagh and A. Ganz,
"Segmentation and nodal points in narrative:
study of multiple variations of a ballad", preprint, 2010.
- A. Ganz, "Let the audience add 2 + 2 and they'll love you for ever".
The screenplay as a self-teaching system. In
Analysing the Screenplay, edited by Jill Nelmes,
Routledge, pp. 127-141, 2010.
- F. Murtagh and A. Ganz, La sémantique d'un récit :
état de l'art et perspectives, La Revue MODULAD, 42, 36-44,
- A. Ganz, Time, space and movement: Screenplay as oral narrative,
Journal of Screenwriting, 1 (2), 2010.
- F. Murtagh, A. Ganz, S. McKie, J. Mothe and K. Englmeier, Tag clouds for
displaying semantics: the case of filmscripts,
Information Visualization, 9, 253-262, 2010.
- F. Murtagh, A. Ganz and S. McKie, The structure of narrative: the case of
film scripts, Pattern Recognition, 42, 302-312, 2009.
- A. Ganz and L. Khatib, guest editors,
Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture Journal, special
Visualization and Narrative, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2008.
- F. Murtagh, The Correspondence Analysis platform for uncovering deep
structure in data and information, Sixth Annual Boole Lecture in Informatics.
The Computer Journal, 53 (3), 304-315, 2010.
- A. Ganz and L. Khatib, Digital cinema: The transformation of
film practice and aesthetics, New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary
Film, volume 4, issue 1, pp. 21-36, 2006.
- A. Ganz, Cause Trouble! Inspire Change! Do it First? - Writing series
drama for Channel 4, Journal of Media Practice, volume 8, number
3, 273-288, 2007. A version of this
paper was given at the BFI Conference commemorating the 25th Anniversary of
- F. Murtagh, Correspondence Analysis and Data Coding with R and
Chapman and Hall/CRC Press, 2005. Chapter 5, Text Analysis.
For software see
- "Project TooManyCooks: Applying Software Design Principles to Fiction
Writing", including a considerable number of course participant
testimonials, by D. Cowie (Dept. of English), J. Reddington and
F. Murtagh (both Dept. of Computer Science) won in May 2010 a
prestigious RHUL College Team Teaching Prize, the aim of which is "to
acknowledge and reward either a single initiative or a range of
initiatives which have had a beneficial impact on student learning at
Royal Holloway". Photo!
Events - Workshops, Conference Sessions
- Plenary presentation, Fionn Murtagh,
JOCLAD 2012, XIX Jornadas de
Classificação e Análise de Dados,
Tomar, Portugal, 28-31 March 2012.
Videocast of presentation at
Microsoft Research Cambridge, Fionn Murtagh and Adam Ganz, 7 October 2011.
- Presentation at
International Classification Conference,
University of St Andrews, 11-15 July 2011.
- Keynote at
RCOMM 2011, Rapid-Miner Community Meeting
and Conference, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Dublin,
7-10 June 2011.
- J. Reddington, "Software
Engineering the Novel", seminar, Royal Holloway, University of London,
9 March 2011.
- F. Murtagh, J. Reddington and A. Ganz,
"Semantics of narrative in collective, distributed problem-solving
environments based on correspondence analysis and hierarchical clustering",
CARME 2011, International
Conference on Correspondence Analysis and Related Methods, Rennes,
8-11 February 2011.
- F. Murtagh, J. Reddington and A. Ganz, "Correspondence analysis and
hierarchical clustering in semantic
and stylistic analysis of text, with application to film, TV, and
other domains", British Classification Society meeting, UCL, 24 September
- F. Murtagh, A. Ganz and J. Reddington, "Narrative Synthesis in Interactive Settings", SID2010,
9th International Workshop on Social Intelligence
Design, Royal Holloway, University of London, 13-16 September 2010.
- F. Murtagh and A. Ganz, "New methods of analysis of narrative and
semantics in support of interactivity", keynote presentation,
The 1st International Workshop on Serious Games Development and Applications,
University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, 8 July 2010.
- F. Murtagh, "Semantics from narrative", keynote presentation,
JADT 2010, 10th
International Conference on Statistical Analysis
of Textual Data, Rome, 9-11 June 2010.
- A. Ganz and F. Murtagh, "From data mining in digital humanities
to new methods of analysis of narrative and semantics", presentation
Turn, workshop, Swansea University, 9 March 2010.
Visualization, Narrative, a workshop run by Adam Ganz, Royal
Holloway, University of London, 17 Nov. 2006, supported by the AHRC ICT
Methods Network and
LCACE (London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise).
Our Work In The News
- Interview on TV screenplay structure,
with Adam Ganz, La Repubblica, 23 Jan. 2010.
- Guest participation
on the Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio,
20 January 2010.
The secret of ratings success. Why are academics applying
algorithms to episodes of the TV drama CSI Las Vegas?, The Guardian,
1 December 2009.
L'algoritmo del serial perfetto, C'è une formula matematica
alla base del successo di "Lost" e "Csi", La Stampa,
15 December 2009.
La scenegggiatura perfetta? (Corriere Della Sera, 1 December 2009).
TV Listings 03/12/09, Academics probe TV ratings success, p. 6, Gulf Times,
Qatar, 3 December 2009.
Such den Blockbuster, such!, Stern, 11 June 2008.
Wie man Blockbuster vorhersagt.
Software soll erfolgreiche Filme anhand des Drehbuchs identifizieren, Bild
der Wissenschaft, 6 June 2008.
Software dla scenarzystów, Focus.pl, 13 June 2008.
Here's looking at you, kid. Software promises to identify blockbuster
scripts, Nature, vol. 453, p. 708, 4 June 2008.
People (and Lots of Other Things)
Ganz, Department of Media Arts.
- Fionn Murtagh,
Department of Computer Science.
- Stewart McKie: Scriptgeist.
- Joe Reddington.
Time, space and movement: Screenplay as oral narrative
- Joe Reddington's
Too Many Cooks showing some examples of how a display of the internal,
semantically-realted, structure of the
book being read can help in reading.
- By Joe Reddington -
Tim Cooks, Deception of
e-Book published as a Kindle book on Amazon, 2011. Written collectively
by a group of schoolchildren, average age 12, in less than a week.
Amazing work! See our paper in Entertainment Computing, vol. 2,
pp. 115-121, 2011, for some discussion.
Douglas Cowie, Department of English.
Where We Participate Too
- i-Teams, Commercialising Creativity, project
screenplays, books, and online discussions, at
i-Teams Cambridge, 2011.
- Center for Research in Entertainment and Learning (CREL),
hosted by the UCSD, University of California San Diego, Division of
the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information
Technology. Press release on 24 Feb. 2010,
New UCSD Center to Study the Meaning Behind Interactive Media in
Learning and Entertainment".
- CLRC, Computer Learning
Research Centre, RHUL.
- iCOM, Centre for
Research in Information Computing and Communication, RHUL.
- ICT4D, Information and
Communication Technologies for Development, RHUL.
- Finally, some notes on
Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science.
Last update: 2012 August 30.
Contact: f m u r t a g h _a t_ a c m _d o t_ o r g