I chose to make a thesaurus for a kind of “what to read next” but for anime. However it needed a controlled vocabulary of some kind to be able to ‘recommend’ similar anime. Therefore, I made thesaurus of topical terms to be used in this site.
I followed three main rules when created preferred terms. Other terms tended to be put under non-preferred terms.
Six main categories were chosen during the term grouping process. Audience, Elements, Format, Genre, Structure, and Period. Each term was placed underneath one of these six main terms. The categories Audience and elements were taken from ANIDB.net, Genre from movies genres, and the others were created by me.
Five of the top terms are designed so than an anime will fit into exactly ONE of each narrower term (although this is not always possible). Only the elements category is designed have multiple terms per anime title there is no limit – it will get larger as more anime is categorized. However once all the terms I picked were inserted, I looked at the anidb site again and added everything they had as well (with a few exceptions) so it may take a while to get much bigger than it is now. I admit there is an odd spread from the very detailed aliens to the very broad themes.
Some problems I encounterd were as everyone else did with the scope and balance of what terms to include and which not to include. For example I included every version of USA as I could, including period versions U.S. and non-period versions US – if I knew what kind of search engine I had I might have been able to include only one of these. However I initially thought about doing the same for United Kingdom, however I later cut Wales, Scotland and Ireland because of rule number 3 – must be in more than one anime.
The problem with the software I found was that when I exported my thesaurus – the see also notes did not export – nor did any editoiral notes, but these were later put under scope notes anyway. I had chosen to use See also over Related Term because I plan to make the thesaurus visible on the website and I thought SeeAlso was more transparent to someone who didn’t know about thesauri – however I wonder (now) if RT would have exported. Because of this errors may have entered my thesaurus as I had to add all the See also’s by hand. This made me more reluctant to make changes to my thesaurus after I exported it, and the changes I did make later – may have errors now.
The other problem was that the program did not have a spell check – and I NEED a spell check. I realized (after I exported) that I had two terms – religion under the THEMES category in Elements and relgion under religious figures of CAREERS in Elements.
Some things I would do differently. First, I would export only ONCE!! I would also look into how to make a multilingual thesaurus – which would allow me to limit the USE terms to English synonyms under the English terms and Japanese synonyms under the Japanese terms. This might limit the English bias that crept into my thesaurus. I included any Japanese terms I knew, but some words have many Japanese synonyms and others have none. Thirdly, I really wanted some feedback of the thesaurus from my amateur experts before calling the thesaurus complete. I’ll still probably do this before I upload it into the website.
1. MAKING A TOPIC THESAURUS
2. PROCESS: SOURCES “ AMATEURS ” Hey, This is a more business than personal email. I'm (hopefully) starting up an anime suggestion site called Osusume where you can find suggestions for anime. Eventually people will put in their own data but I want to start with a decent list of topics for shows. My thought is that a show comes up with various titles, a list of episodes (maybe) a brief summary, a list of 'tags' and a list of anime that may be similar based on these tags. Unlike Flikr and other tagging sites - however. I want a bit more control over the list. To that end Akira: distopian future, war, violence Battle Angel Alita: distopian future, violence Berserk: fantasy, demons, violence Chobits: love story, alternate present Cowboy Bebop: distopian future, bounty hunters, standard cast of characters Dragonball (regular, Z): fantasy, technology, quest, better with subs on fast forward, cartoon violence Escaflowne: fantasy, dragons, technology, love story, violence Evangelion: religion, mechs, child hero, violence FLCL: child hero, music, alternate present Fullmetal Alchemist: alternate present, fantasy, violence, child hero Ghost in the Shell: distopian future, violence, war, standard cast of characters Howl's moving castle: love story, fantasy, war Love Hina: love story Macross: distopian future, war, mechs My Neighbor Totoro: cute, everyone friendly, world-within-a-world Nausica: war, distopian future Outlaw star: love story, violence, quest, outlaw hero Porco Rosso: war, love story, outlaw hero Princess Mononoke: fantasy, quest Robotech: mechs, war, distopian future Rurouni Kenshin: violence, love story, historical japan Samurai Champloo: violence, historical japan, quest Serial Experiments Lain: distopian future Thesaurus term sources included a library of over 150 titles and six friends. For each anime title, “tags” were created to describe the show. These tags were all gathered into a list and then similar tags were grouped. Title Tags Ah My Goddess Harem, fantasy, magical powers, comedy Bastard fantasy, fighting, magical powers, transformation Banner of the Stars/Crest of the Stars fantasy, space, drama, aliens Beck Mongolian chop squad music, life, romance Black Jack doctors, mystery, comedy Card Captor Sakura fantasy, comedy, school romance, magical powers Chobits Harem, fantasy, comedy Digimon Fantasy, monsters, magical powers, teens Flames of Recca Ninjas, magical powers, romance, fighting FLCL Comedy, magical powers, crack dream! Figure 17 UFO, aliens, Japan, twins, magical weapon Final Fantasy Unlimted fantasy, alternate worlds, magical powers, adventure, twins Gungrave Hana Yori Dango Love triangles, school life, drama Juunikokki (12 Kingdoms) Fantasy, historical, magical powers, drama Kare Kano School life, romance, comedy Lupin III Comedy, thieves, drama Nadia The Secret Blue Water Fantasy, historical, romance, mystery Outlaw Star Space, fantasy, romance, mecha, comedy Paradise Kiss Japan, life, drama Berserk Fighting, drama, fantasy, adventure, dark Patlabor Police, drama, comedy, mecha Ragnarok fantasy, magical powers, drama, romance Sakura Wars (ALL) action, comedy, SF, mecha, Ronin Warriors fantasy, samurai, adventure Sailor Moon fantasy, romance, adventure, secret identity Samurai Champloo historical, Japan, samurai, comedy, Gash Bell magical powers, life, drama Speed Grapher drama, mature, special abilities, mystery Stellvia action, SF, romance, space, futuristic Suzuka School life, sports, romance, love triangles Vampire Princess Miyu (all) vampires, drama, action, horror, demons, Zoids Zero Mecha, comedy, adventure GTO School life, comedy, drama Yakitate Japan Comedy, cooking, drama Evangelion messed up ;) Elementar Gerad Magical elements, romance, adventure Cyborg 009 adventure, fantasy, drama, mystery Desert Punk adventure, life, guns Escaflone fantasy, magical powers, mecha, swords, love traingles, magical girl E's Otherwise fantasy, magical powers, adventure, drama Fushigi Yuugi fantasy, magical powers, magical objects, love triangles, magical girl Gundam Wing mecha, military, drama, Gundam 00 mecha, military, drama, mystery
3. PROCESS: SOURCES ANIDB.NET CATEGORY WIKI “ EXPERTS” Terms created by amateur sources were combined with terms found in an wiki for anime topical terms. Special notice was taken of words used in multiple sources.
4. PROCESS: PRIMARY TERM RULES English terms preferred over Japanese terms – exception for when Japanese term was not easily translated When terms were used by more than one source – the term usually became a preferred term mecha NOT giant robots that are piloted and may transform… elementary school NOT primary school Terms had to apply to a minimum of two anime to be included United Kingdom NOT Wales
5. PROCESS: HIERARCHY <ul><li>Audience </li></ul><ul><li>Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Format </li></ul><ul><li>Genre </li></ul><ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Period </li></ul>audience SN: Audience refers to the viewer. Anime often contains language, smoking, alcohol, or situations that may not be appropriate or appreciate by some viewers. NT: adult content children elements SN: Element are aspects inside the anime usually centering around the characters, their professions, special powers. Also focuses on particular element of the location or plot not covered elsewhere such as the inclusion of aliens, good music, or artwork. NT: aliens animals artwork careers games and sports human alteration identity location military musical scores outlaws relationships robots school life special powers supernatural creatures themes toys warriors format NT: manga movie novel oav tv show genre NT: action comedy drama fantasy horror romance science fiction period UF: time period NT: far future futuristic historical setting modern day time travel structure SN: Structure refers to how the episodes are put together to move the plot forward. NT: conspiracy daily life quest tournament vignette wannabe
6. PROCESS: HIERARCHY <ul><li>Conspiracy </li></ul><ul><li>Daily Life </li></ul><ul><li>Drama </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mystery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serious drama </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Save the world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tournament </li></ul><ul><li>Vignette </li></ul><ul><li>Wannabe </li></ul><ul><li>aliens </li></ul><ul><li>animals </li></ul><ul><li>artwork </li></ul><ul><li>careers </li></ul><ul><li>games and sports </li></ul><ul><li>human alteration </li></ul><ul><li>identity </li></ul><ul><li>location </li></ul><ul><li>military </li></ul><ul><li>musical scores </li></ul><ul><li>outlaws </li></ul><ul><li>relationships </li></ul><ul><li>robots </li></ul><ul><li>school life </li></ul><ul><li>special powers </li></ul><ul><li>supernatural creatures </li></ul><ul><li>themes </li></ul><ul><li>toys </li></ul><ul><li>warriors </li></ul><ul><li>Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Structure </li></ul>