[sc34wg3] Reading the Roadmap

Patrick Durusau sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Mon, 14 Apr 2003 11:52:55 -0400


There has been a lot of talk about the "Roadmap" but little evidence of 
any consensus on what it means (in terms of the relationship between the 
SAM and the TMM).

Historically speaking, the roadmap allowed a divergence from the 
consensus model of ISO process in that technical work (albeit informal) 
was allowed to progress on two separate "models" (whatever you think 
that term means) for topic maps. The latest version of the roadmap, 
N323, which was never formally approved by SC34, states in part:

It is planned that the SAM part of the standard will include a normative 
mapping of the SAM to the Reference Model. The TMQL and TMCL standards 
will thus relate to the Reference Model through the SAM. Obviously, it 
is very important that the SAM and the RM are consistent, and much work 
will go into ensuring that this is the case.

That does not sound (to me at any rate) as authorization that the SAM 
should proceed in absence of consistency with the RM.

Actually the last official action of SC34 can be found in N278, which 
provides in part:

1. Reference model

A document based on PMTM4, which will define a reference model for topic 
maps, which can be used to define the relationships to other knowledge 

2. SAM defined in terms of the RM

Definition of the Standard Application Model of topic maps (3.) as an 
application of the reference model. (We need a better name.)

3. The Standard Application Model of topic maps

A model for topic maps using the infoset formalism (with informative UML 
diagrams) representing base names, occurrences, and variant names as 
separate constructs, based on the existing infoset proposal.

There is clearly a relationship contemplated between the TMM (referred 
to here as RM) and the SAM. The nature of that relationship is not clear 
from N278.

It would make little sense to have inconsistent models for topic maps in 
the SAM and TMM. In fact, N323 expressly says that they should be 

I think the time has come to move from the fork in the road represented 
by N278 that allowed technical work to proceed without consensus to a 
joining of these two separate paths into a single underlying model for 
topic maps, along with a TM Application for web centric topic maps (the 
current SAM proposal), and the other parts necessary for successful 
deployment of topic maps, such as TMCL and TMQL.

The Roadmap represents a division of labor on topic maps that have 
focused on different aspects of topic maps but that are still "joined at 
the hip" (an American expression meaning inseparable in success or 
failure). I am hopeful that the London meeting will witness useful 
discussion of how to reunite these two different drafts into a common 
successor to ISO 13250.


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