- Topic Maps
Topic Maps is a standard for the representation and interchange of knowledge, with an emphasis on the
findabilityof information. The ISO standard is formally known as ISO/IEC 13250:2003.
A topic map represents information using topics (representing any concept, from people, countries, and organizations to software modules, individual files, and events), associations (representing the relationships between topics), and occurrences (representing information resources relevant to a particular topic).
Topic Maps are a form of
semantic webtechnology (in the wider sense) and some [http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/BestPractices/RDFTM/ work] has been undertaken on interoperability between the W3C's RDF/OWL/SPARQL family of semantic web standards and the ISO's family of Topic Maps standards. Topic Maps are also similar to concept maps and mind maps in many respects, though only Topic Maps are standardized in this respect.
The most recent work standardizing Topic Maps is taking place under the umbrella of the [http://isotopicmaps.org ISO Topic Maps (ISO/IEC 13250)] committee.
The Topic Maps (ISO/IEC 13250) reference model and data model standards are defined in a way that is independent of any specific serialization or syntax.
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/tmrm/ TMRM ] Topic Maps - Reference Model
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-model/ TMDM ] Topic Maps - Data Model
XML Serialization formats
* In the year 2000 Topic Maps was defined in an XML syntax [http://www.topicmaps.org/ XTM] . This is now commonly known as "XTM 1.0" and is still in fairly common use.
* The ISO standards committee published an updated XML syntax in 2006, [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-xtm/ XTM 2.0] which is increasingly in use today."Note that XTM 1.0 predates and therefore is not compatible with the more recent versions of the (ISO/IEC 13250) standard."
Other (proposed or standardized) serialization formats include:
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/cxtm/ CXTM ] - Canonical XML Topic Maps format (canonicalization of topic maps)
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/ctm/ CTM ] - a Compact Topic Maps Notation (not based on XML)
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/gtm/ GTM ] - a Graphical Topic Maps Notation
The above standards are all recently proposed or defined as part of ISO/IEC 13250. As described below, there are also other, serialization formats such as LTM, AsTMa= that have not been put forward as standards.
A de facto API standard called Common Topic Map Application Programming Interface (TMAPI) was published in April 2004 and is supported by many Topic Maps implementations or vendors:
* [http://www.tmapi.org/ TMAPI] - Common Topic Map Application Programming Interface
* [http://www.tmapi.org/2.0/ TMAPI 2.0] Topic Map Application Programming Interface (v2.0)
In normal use it is often desirable to have a way to arbitrarily query the data within a particular Topic Maps store. Many implementations provide a syntax by which this can be achieved (kind of like 'SQL for Topic Maps') but the syntax tends to vary a lot between different implementations. With this in mind, work has gone into defining a standardized syntax for querying topic maps:
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/tmql/ ISO 18048: TMQL] - Topic Maps Query Language
It can also be desirable to define a set of constraints that can be used to guarantee or check the semantic validity of topic maps data for a particular domain. (Kind of like database constraints for topic maps). Constraints can be used to define things like 'every document needs an author' or 'all managers must be human'. There are often implementation specific ways of achieving these goals, but work has gone into defining a standardized constraint language as follows:
* [http://www.isotopicmaps.org/tmcl/ ISO 19756: TMCL] - Topic Maps Constraint Language
The "Topic Maps" concept has existed for a long time. The [http://www.hytime.org/ HyTime] standard was proposed as far back as 1992 (or earlier?). Earlier versions of ISO 13250 (than the current revision) also exist. More information about such standards can be found at the [http://isotopicmaps.org/ ISO TopicMaps] site.
Ontology and Merging
Topics, associations, and occurrences can all be typed, where the types must be defined by the one or more creators of the topic map(s). The definitions of allowed types is known as the ontology of the topic map.
Topic Maps explicitly support the concept of merging of identity between multiple topics or topic maps. Furthermore, because ontologies are topic maps themselves, they can also be merged thus allowing for the automated integration of information from diverse sources into a coherent new topic map. Features such as subject identifiers (URIs given to topics) and PSIs (subject indicators made public) are used to control merging between differing taxonomies. Scoping on names provides a way to organise the various names given to a particular topic by different sources.
The specification is summarized in the abstract as follows: "This specification provides a model and grammar for representing the structure of information resources used to define topics, and the associations (relationships) between topics. Names, resources, and relationships are said to be characteristics of abstract subjects, which are called topics. Topics have their characteristics within scopes: i.e. the limited contexts within which the names and resources are regarded as their name, resource, and relationship characteristics. One or more interrelated documents employing this grammar is called a topic map."
A format called [http://www.ontopia.net/download/ltm.html linear topic map notation] (LTM) serves as a kind of shorthand for writing topic maps in plain text editors. This is useful for writing short personal topic maps or exchanging partial topic maps by email. The format can be converted to XTM.
There is another format called [http://astma.it.bond.edu.au/ AsTMa] which serves a similar purpose. When writing topic maps manually it is much more compact, but of course can be converted to XTM. Alternatively, it can be used directly with the
PerlModule [http://search.cpan.org/dist/TM/ TM] (which also supports LTM).
Resource Description Framework(RDF) - RDF is, in some ways, similar to Topic Maps.
* - Discuss the case for a Topic Maps structure for Wikipedia.
Ontology (computer science)
Visual Topic Maps
* Lutz Maicher and Jack Park: Charting the Topic Maps Research and Applications Landscape, Springer, ISBN 3-540-32527-1
* Jack Park and Sam Hunting: XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2 (in [http://www.topic-maps.org/cgi-bin/tmv_graph.pl?id=b1&path=bibmap.xtm bibMap] )
* cite book
title=Explorer's Guide to the Semantic Web
last=Passin |first=Thomas B.
* [http://www.y12.doe.gov/sgml/sc34/document/0322_files/iso13250-2nd-ed-v2.pdf ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Maps, Second Edition]
* [http://topicmaps.org/xtm/ XML Topic Maps (XTM) 1.0 Specification]
* [http://www.empolis.com/downloads/empolis_TopicMaps_Whitepaper20030206.pdf The Topic Maps Handbook]
* [http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/09/11/topicmaps.html What Are Topic Maps?]
* [http://www.gca.org/papers/xmleurope2000/papers/s22-02.html Towards knowledge organization with Topic Maps]
* [http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa480048.aspx An Introduction to Topic Maps (MSDN)]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.