[sc34wg3] to advance Topic Maps

Patrick Durusau sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 11 Apr 2003 13:34:13 -0400


Lars Marius Garshol wrote:

>I should probably begin by saying that I have no objections to the
>spirit of what SRN is saying here, but that we do differ on the
>details.  Whether the gap can be bridged remains to be seen, but it's
>certainly possible in theory.
>First, I should make it clear that there are certain practical
>constraints here. The first is that all further progress on topic maps
>(except for progress on the RM) hinges on the SAM. 
Strongly disagree.

Progress on topic maps has been hindered by the lack of consensus on the 
model, TAO or otherwise, for the SAM. That lack of consensus continues 
to date. Rather than resolving that issue, the committee has been 
fragmented into various groups pursuing separate agendas. That any group 
has reached a point of considering their work "finished" does not 
resolve the underlying issue of lack of consensus on the model for topic 

Standards development is a process of reaching consensus and that takes 
as long as it takes. If anyone wants to be concerned with "practical 
considerations," then concern with reaching a viable consensus on how to 
go forward, as opposed to simply putting the issue off to another day, 
would seem to be the paramount concern. Simply pushing one position or 
another as the "topic map" way is only a source of annoyance and almost 
guranteed to not reach a useful result.

Topic maps certainly do need a constraint language, query language, 
etc., but none of those can develop without resolving the more 
fundamental need for a consensus on the basis for those languages. The 
amount of time and effort devoted to separate agendas is not an argument 
for any particular position, but for the wisdom of seeking consensus in 
the course of a standard development effort.


Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature
Co-Editor, ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps