[sc34wg3] to advance Topic Maps

Sam Hunting sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Sat, 12 Apr 2003 13:03:51 -0400 (EDT)

> >*Michel
> >
> >I think when you qualify the SAM as a "very robust piece of computer
> >science"
> >you are exactly right. And this is exactly the problem. I do not think that
> >topic maps have anything to do with computer science.
> If this is the case, then the Japan national body would be required to quit 
> work in Sc34 right now.

Oh, I hope not!

> Our obligation is to work in IT and to bring new technologies to the 
> marketplace through the development of international standards to stimulate 
> the Japanese economy.

Well, "Information Technology" != "computer science"

For example, there is a long tradition in the markup community that markup
("text that is added to the data of a document in order to convey
INFORMTION about it", ISO 8879, 4.183, caps mine) should be both machine
and human readable (8879, 0.2). I don't think human readability comes
directly under the heading of computer science, yet no one can argue that
markup has not had a huge and positive impact on IT>

> Our sponsor is METI  The Ministry of Economics Trade and Industry.
> >I think they aim to
> >represent knowledge units (aka subjects) in the most interchangeable way
> >possible.
> >This is not something that has any relation with computer science. It has to
> >do
> >with "What do you mean when you say this?".

I don't see this as being "philosophical" in the sense of being academic,
if that's what you mean. Though all CS certainly makes ontological

I do see Michel's position as a *little* less nuanced than it might be --
consider the problem of transmitting voice over a wire. That certainly
involves physics -- but it is not *all* physics, as there are subjective
factors involved in how humans percieve voices. Physical or not, these
factors still have to be engineered. And philosophical or not, there is
engineering to be done in interchanging subjects. And I don't think this
engineering problem can be solved *exclusively* by reference to CS --
though it remains an opportunity for IT.

> This is the philosophical aspect and is needed, but it is not directly 
> applicable  to objectives that we have here in Japan, anyway, as specified 
> by METI, actually.

> I think we need to look at the actual objectives of individual national 
> bodies that participate in the committee, and exactly what JTC1 ISO 
> standards bodies are.
> I would not want to put this in a report to METI that this is what our 
> committee is about.

> >And thanks Graham, because I
> >think
> >you have pointed out exactly what discussion we need to be having.
> >
> >On the computer science implementation side, I believe that the SAM is
> >not far from as best as can be done FOR A CERTAIN KIND OF APPLICATION WHICH
> >IS PRETTY WELL UNDERSTOOD, but is limited to what it is by nature. And I
> >believe we can, and we must, do MORE than that. That's the discussion I want
> >to have.
> Of course we can. This is what an iterative process is all about.
> Looking forward to discussing this with you Michel.
> Cheers,
> Mary 
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Sam Hunting
eTopicality, Inc.

Co-editor:  ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps 
  Topic map consulting and training: www.etopicality.com
Free open source topic map tools:  www.gooseworks.org
  XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2.