[sc34wg3] The role of the RM [was: Let's revert to N323!]

Steve Pepper sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Tue, 04 Feb 2003 17:08:06 +0100

At 06:39 04.02.2003 -0500, Patrick Durusau wrote:
>Rath, Holger (empolis KL) wrote:
>>We should again raise the issue if the RM is a part of this multipart
>>standard or a separate standard on its own.
>All right, consider the issue raised.

I've have started a new thread for this discussion.

>The RM should be part of this multipart standard.
>The RM is designed to define the essence of what it means to be a topic 
>map and provides a heuristic device for evaluating topic map models and 
>topic maps separate and apart from any particular data model or 
>implementation or instance of a topic map. (If anyone disagrees with this 
>assessment, it would be helpful if you could point to the parts of the RM 
>that you read as supporting some contrary view. I am aware that contrary 
>views exist, but they do not appear to be based on reading of the RM but 
>on other grounds. That appearance could be resolved by citations to the RM.)

I disagree with the assessment because:

(1) I don't see how the RM can define the "essence of what it means to be a 
topic map" when it doesn't concern itself with *any* of the things that are 
central to ISO 13250, such as topics, associations, occurrences, etc. ISO 
13250 defines the essence of topic maps. All that is missing is a formal 
data model, i.e. the SAM.

(2) It cannot provide a "heuristic device for evaluating topic map models" 
because there is only one "topic map model" - the SAM. SC34 has no 
intention of standardizing other models and should be promoting its own 
rather than indirectly encouraging other, non-standard models.

(3) No real business requirement or industry demand has been put forward 
for the RM.

That is the basis for my belief that the RM should not be part of the Topic 
Maps standard. It is an interesting academic exercise that may lead us 
beyond topic maps at some point in the future and could therefore be a 
project and work item in its own right. But it will take time to mature and 
it should not be allowed to delay finalization of the data model that is 
required in order to move forward with topic maps in the real world.


Steve Pepper, Chief Executive Officer <pepper@ontopia.net>
Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34/WG3  Editor, XTM (XML Topic Maps)
Ontopia AS, Waldemar Thranes gt. 98, N-0175 Oslo, Norway.
http://www.ontopia.net/ phone: +47-23233080 GSM: +47-90827246