[sc34wg3] Thoughts on the RM

Steve Pepper sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 25 Apr 2003 06:41:38 +0200

At 19:46 24.04.2003 -0400, Michel Biezunski wrote:
> > I ask myself: What does any of this have to do with
> > topic maps as defined in ISO 13250? It's all new and goes far
> > beyond today's standard.
>It's not new in the sense that it has always been there,
>but in a way it was hidden.

It is not in 13250, in any way, shape or form. That is my
point. What you or SRN claim (today) was in your heads at
some point in the past is neither here nor there. We cannot
build and promote a standard on that basis.

What we have to go on, today, is ISO 13250:2002 (and the
XTM 1.0 Specification, as the "provisional explication" of
the XTM DTD).

Those documents provide the only authoritative basis for
determining what topic maps are. They are insufficient for
the purpose of implementing topic map-based systems. What
we need to do is clarify them enough in order to be able
to ensure that information owners do not waste their time
when trying to base their solutions on ISO 13250.

>In any case, even if it was new, it's not a bad thing to
>do new things from time to time. Everything rusts,
>including standards. We can't hope preserving the model
>we designed and pretty much finished in 1995 (except for
>scopes) for the eternity.

I agree. I am not talking about eternity. I am talking
about now, and the next few years. Let's make the standard
we have workable, quickly, so that we stand a chance of
getting it accepted.

At the same time, let's think towards the future. Let us
by all means consider how we might generalize the ideas
in 13250 even further, if there is a clear business case
for doing so. But let us also recognize that work for what
it is: a further generalization of Topic Maps, something
new that will take time to get right. And let us avoid
killing the baby we have by confusing the market into
thinking it has to wait for the next baby if it wants to
take advantage of the wonderful idea that is Topic Maps.