Ontology of Death & Remembrance Practices

Project Overview

Over the past few years, I have become more aware of a growing movement towards death positivity in the United States. More and more, funeral directors, individuals, and bereaved family members alike are beginning to seek out more eco-friendly options for interment and investigate more meaningful ways to grieve and remember loved ones who have died.

For practitioners who embrace a greener, more intimate style of funeral direction, it is an exciting time to be involved in the death industry. But for those who are recently bereaved, or those who are working on their death plan in advance, this range of new and diverse options outside the traditional casket burial or cremation can be overwhelming.

I created this ontology to provide a scope, framework, and taxonomy of object classes to serve both “pre-need” users, who may be working on their will or death plan in advance, as well as “at-need” users, who are likely to be family members charged with the task of planning a loved one’s funeral. The scope of the ontology covers both interment options as well as remembrance practices and keepsake options in the United States.

This ontology project was completed as part of an independent study on Ontology & the Semantic Web, completed with the support of the Drexel University Metadata Research Center and advisor Dr. Jane Greenberg.