Talk:Topic Maps

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Finally, I moved the "Topic map" site to "Topic Maps". Please do not change that. "Topic Maps" is not a plural, but the name of the technology. --Lheuer 15:55, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

The following was originally on Topicmaps and should probably be merged with this article:

Topicmaps is an ISO standard for knowledge representation in xml. It is well suited as an infrastructure for the Semantic_Web, and has many similarities to Resource_Description_Framework. One of topicmaps distinct features is it's convention of using url as id's for subjects called public subject identifiers or psi. Since topicmaps is a general data model for knowledge, almost any kind of datasource can be converted to a topicmap. With the aid of public subject identifiers it is also possible merge lot's of different topicmaps so they appear to be one topicmap. At the time being several new standards are under development for querying, manipulating and defining constraints for topicmaps.

Eleusis 14:16, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

The article says: "Dubbed "the GPS of the information universe", topic maps are also destined to provide powerful new ways of navigating large and interconnected corpora." I'm curious as to Wikipedia policies: This sentence is speculation; should an encyclopedia contain forward-looking statements like this? Dirk Riehle 13:02, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

No, it shouldn't. I've taken it out. -R. S. Shaw 01:33, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

The standard is explicit that the technology is called "Topic Maps", and that "topic map" means an actual instance of the model (a real topic map), and likewise that "topic maps" refers to multiple "topic map"s. So the title of the article, as well as the language throughout, should change. Lars Marius Garshol, 2006-03-09


Anybody familiar with the current status of this thing? After poking around a bit, it seems to me there was a flurry of activity on it in 1999-2001, and almost nothing has happened since. Have they ever been used in non-toy applications? -R. S. Shaw 01:33, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Having just returned from a sold-out Topic Maps conference, Emnekart Norge 2006, 29 March 2006 (program), run by the venerable Norwegian Computer Society, I'm convinced that there's quite a lot of new stuff going on, at least some of it not at all toy-like. There were new applications in municipal government (Stuttgart, DE), national government (Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, Dutch Tax Administration, the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence, the Danish Royal Library, etc. These newer projects are added to older, well-established non-toy applications at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service ("Tax Map"), at the U.S. Department of Energy classification of nuclear weapons secrets, and elsewhere. Steve Pepper's closing keynote in Oslo was an illuminating wrap-up. Steve Newcomb 2006-04-03.

The Oslo event was the fourth "Emnekart" conference, and there is another, perhaps more research-oriented October annual conference in Leipzig, Topic Maps Research and Applications (TMRA). In addition, many participants in the August Extreme Markup Languages Conference in Montréal have been providing leadership to the field since 1994. Topic Maps have had a slow, quiet start, but there is every reason to believe that, if the Topic Maps paradigm hasn't already crossed the chasm, it is certainly more than halfway across, and it is moving toward ubiquity with increasing speed. Steve Newcomb 2006-04-03

To R. S. Shaw: Several companies around the world are using Topic Maps activly in projects. Ontopia, Networked planet, Bouvet and Morpheus are such companies. Morpheus has projects at the Dutch tax officer, the dutch police, ministery of education and several more. The activity of Topic Maps is growing and I can recommend that you check out the Topicmaps-2008 conference. - Quixsilver (talk) 09:24, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Subsequent to TMAPI2.0 Announcement, I added this link. Also, reading down the page realised that the most important stuff - the actual links to the standards was too far down the page, so moved the Ontology/Merging stuff into a new section, further down. Utunga (talk) 23:30, 26 August 2008 (UTC)


The article should explain whether the ISO standards simply define a data interchange format, or whether the standard actually contains content which establishes a standardized ontology of topics. -- Beland (talk) 20:17, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

ISO Topic Maps vs. W3C RDF[edit]

This 2003 ref helps describe the analogous parts of two projects. The conclusion says "In short, it does appear that it is possible to live with both RDF and topic maps." -- Grantbow (talk) 23:12, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

That sort of nonsense was shot down in 2000, but it didn't become obvious to the muggles until the RDF documentation stack was redrafted in 2004. It still comes up. The RDF world is still All Just Doing It Wrong and there will always be a few HyTime / Topic Maps advocates that will maintain that. Andy Dingley (talk) 23:47, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I wanted to compare the specs, not judge them. They are analogous and were built with different goals and histories. Though it is dated the 30-page ref (specifically that picture) is also one of the best comparisons I have seen of the two stacks of specs. I emailed Lars and he said ISO Topic Maps are now dead, so the market seems to have judged Topic Maps as wrong already. A few people still are making a living selling Topic Maps, and there are still a few Topic Map software installations, however the absence of any further statements from him is an indicator of where things have gone. People are well advised not to adopt Topic Maps these days. Grantbow (talk) 17:44, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
The trouble is that Topic Maps in 2003 were judging RDF as "RDF-from-1999" and seeing it as "a metadata format". At that time (i.e. 1999) there was perhaps something to support their criticisms of RDF. By 2000 though, it was painfully obvious that the Topic Maps community's view of RDF was well out of date – particularly once you start looking at RDF Schema / DAML / OIL / OWL. In 2003, this well-known paper was just embarrassingly out of date. To be fair though, RDF wasn't generally well understood anywhere outside of a few buildings in Bristol and Boston until the 2004 documentation updated the W3C's public-facing explanation of what RDF was for. Ten years on and RDF still suffers from misunderstandings like it being "an XML format about metadata" etc. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:58, 22 February 2014 (UTC)