integrating all TMAs: was Re: [sc34wg3] to advance Topic Maps

Patrick Durusau
Mon, 14 Apr 2003 14:39:42 -0400


A reply to one of your "technical points." More to follow later this 
week. I have changed the subject line so as to divide up the various 
points you make into separate threads.

Note that some of my analysis of your remarks may be off base since you 
did not cite the relevant portions of the RM that lead you to the 
conclusions you offer below. There is a commenting mechanism that has 
been in place for month that may assist in focusing your comments on 
particular aspects of the TMM. (see:

Graham Moore wrote:


> Let me explain some of the biggest concerns I have about the new RM 
> and how they exemplify my comments above. Bernard made a point that I 
> heartily agree with. He noted, as have I, that the new RM makes a 
> claim to be able to unambigously integrate all TMAs. This is a bogus 
> notion.

Not sure what you mean by "unambigously integrate all TMAs." There are 
no statements that I can find in the TMM that refer to integrating TMAs. 
Perhaps you could point me to the portion of the TMM that lead you to 
this conclusion? If there is language that is mis-leading on this point 
I would like to know where it can be found.

The TMM requires TMAs to define what properties are used for 
distinguishing subjects (SIDP) or not (OP). [parid0786] Ah, is it 
parid0861 that is causing the difficulty?

Parid0861 reads:

TM Application Definitions can include other TM Applications in their 
entirety, by reference to their definitions. All of the definitions and 
constraints of such "included" TM Applications become, without 
exception, part of the "including" TM Application. The names of included 
properties, assertion and role types are not affected by inclusion by 
another TM Application, and they retain, as their first field, the name 
of the included TM Application. If the included TM Application itself 
includes other TM Applications, recursively, they, too, are included.

Depending upon what you mean by "integrate all TMAs" is this the trouble 

Looks like a mechanism that distinguishes all the properties defined by 
one TMA from those of another. Note that the "including" TMA would have 
to define the SIDPs for topics and could make use of the properties from 
the other TMAs, which are distinguished in terms of their origin.

Nothing about automatically integrating TMAs nor anything particularly 
remarkable about distinguishing properties by their origin.

> The RM says that you can have any arbitrary complex data structure and 
> denote it as an 'identity' structure. While the RM would claim this is 
> something that enables integration of knowledge in fact it, as Bernard 
> alludes to, completely devalues the concept of identity.

Sorry, I lost you here in terms of what part of the TMM makes this 
claim. Can you point me to the section you are reading this way?

> Knowledge integration can only be achieved by agreement not by total 
> openess. If I have two TMAs where they both have a property 'ID' but 
> in one case the strategy for ID is to use web pages as identity for 
> people and the other makes a distinction. Then when these are 'merged' 
> at the RM level we have complete nonsense - we have RDF's problem of 
> identity crisis. As I see it the RM holds common knowledge identity 
> integration as a core principal but fails to achieve that goal. The RM 
> notion of identity is so weak that it completely goes against the very 
> idea of TopicMaps.
Not guilty.

Reading parid0861 leaves one with the definite impression (the correct 
one BTW) that to do the 'merger' you refer to in your post would require 
a third TMA that governs the topic map instances that are governed by 
your other two TMAs. The property 'ID' for each of your topic map 
instances would be denoted as originating from their respective TMAs and 
the including TMA would have to declare how it was going to handle 
identity. Thus, the TMM requires the very agreement that you posit, 
correctly, as the basis for knowledge integration. (Although I note that 
the TMM does not even use the terms "knowlege integration" either as a 
phrase or as separate words. It has the less ambitious goal of setting 
forth the model of topic maps and rules for TM Applications.)


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