SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: SIGIA-L: Topic Maps?
RE: SIGIA-L: Topic Maps?
From: Peter Van Dijck (peter_at_vardus.com)
Date: Thu Dec 20 2001 - 07:12:28 EST
| | You should be able to find implementations at one of
| | these links. It's still very much a work in progress,
| | tho.
Topic maps are fairly cool and seem pretty ready to go to me.
The difference between them and your average metadata is that usually,
you'll just assign metadata to an item (a page, ...). But with a topic map
you develop the map, and that has a value of it's own, apart from any
instances it points to. So you may have a topic "commodore 64" and another
topic "80's" and you can define a relationship called "was popular in", wich
has two roles. So basically, yoou are encoding lots of info in the topic
map, even before you have pointed it to your content.
Then it gets even cooler. Say you have a CMS (content management system) and
a CRM (client relationships). How can you find out if a certain client, who
has bought a certain product (which your CRM knows about) has gotten the
latest manual and that new article about the product (which the CMS knows
Simple: you build a topic map on top of the CMS (useful in itself). Then you
build a map on top of the CRM (useful in itself as well). Both maps have the
same product codes in them. Then this really starts paying off: you now
MERGE the two maps. Bingo!
The way to look at them I guess is: they are this really powerful metadata
thing (represented in XML) that you can build upon content you have. Then,
once you have the map, you can start building applications that USE the
map. Topic Maps are (I think) the Future. Imagine this: once you've built a
TM, you already have lots of applications available to then start mining
that data (since it's an open standard). So you save lots of work there.
That may have been confusing, I'll try again later :)
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