[sc34wg3] N0429: Topic Maps Reference Model: Requirements

Patrick Durusau sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 31 Jul 2003 18:18:17 -0400


Steve Pepper wrote:
> Steve N. wrote:
> | A draft of "Topic Maps Reference Model: Requirements" is
> | available for review at
> | http://www.isotopicmaps.org/tmrm/RMREQ-1.8/N0429.html
> I finally got around to having my first look at this. (My
> apologies for not having done so sooner.) Now that it is clear
> that I will not be attending the Montreal meeting, I would like
> to offer some comments.
Sorry you won't be in Montreal! Do appreciate the comments but face to 
face discussion would allow us to explore your comments more fully. I do 
have some questions about your comments and perhaps we can do as much as 
we can be email and supplement that with conference calls.

> I think this will be a useful document, but to be honest it is
> not the one I was hoping for. (I realise now that we were not
> precise enough with the wording in N423 when we instructed the
> editors of the RM to prepare a "User Requirements document"...)
> The thing I (at any rate) was looking for was something more
> along the lines of what is called "Purpose and justification" in
> New Work Item proposals.
Will have to look at the requirements (sorry, no pun intended) for 
"Purpose and Justification" statements. Perhaps I can find ones in other 
New Work Item proposals to use as a guide.

> Basically, I need to know what the RM is *for* - what is its
> *business case*?
> N429 takes the RM as a given. It kind of assumes the need for a
> RM and proceeds from there. I would like to see a document that
> starts out without any assumptions at all, and that simply
> describes a clearly recognizable business problem, in terms that
> a non-technical user would understand, *without mentioning*
> either the RM or even Topic Maps in general. It should then show
> why Topic Maps as currently defined in 13250 (i.e., SAM/TAO/XTM
> Topic Maps) does not adequately address the problem in question.
Not meaning to be difficult but the SAM/TAO are not presently part of 
ISO 13250. XTM syntax has been added but not the XTM specification.

In brief I was trying to say, probably poorly, that the RM should make 
explicit the underpinning ideas of topic maps, which can only be 
inferred from the current version of ISO 13250. Since it defined an 
interchange syntax, it did not ever make the reasoning for various 
aspects of the interchange syntax clear.

> Having done both of those things the document will have stated a
> requirement for something that goes beyond 13250. The committee
> can then discuss the requirement. If the committee agrees that
> the requirement really does exist, it can then proceed to show
> what the "something that goes beyond 13250" might look like...
> and how it might still reasonably be called Topic Maps.
I thought the document made it clear that there was no intent to go 
beyond ISO 13250, which is as was originally approved, with the addition 
of the XTM syntax as an appendix.

I really don't think, and here is where a conference call might (or 
might not) help, that either Newcomb or myself are proposing anything 
that could be considered "beyond 13250." It would be helpful (realizing 
this is an imposition on your time when other matters are probably 
pressing) if you could say how any particular part of the requirements 
document shows an effort to go "beyond 13250."

Don't limit yourself to the explicit language in the document as I don't 
want to play word games but honestly would like to know in what way you 
think the RM (or the requirements document) proposes to go "beyond 13250."

> If the proponents of the RM can present a compelling business
> case in these kinds of terms, I think it will help tremendously
> in getting us all on the same page - and in explaining to the
> rest of the world what we are doing and why.
I think we are not yet on common ground about whether the RM as proposed 
goes "beyond 13250." I think making the underlying concepts of 13250, 
which were expressed in an interchange syntax, explicit, is both useful 
and not going beyond 13250. Apparently when that was said in the 
requirements document, you heard something different that I did in 
writing the document. Not saying either interpretation is right or wrong 
but simply that I don't understand how you arrived at your interpretation.

In full agreement that we need to make the case for why such an effort 
would be worthwhile and will turn my attention to trying to make it more 
explicit. As that progresses, I hope that we can reach a common 
understanding of each others positions, which I view as a good step 
towards reaching a common understanding of where we go from here.

Hope you are having a great day!


> Steve
> --
> Steve Pepper <pepper@ontopia.net>
> Chief Executive Officer, Ontopia
> Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3
> Editor, XTM (XML Topic Maps 1.0)
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Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature
Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model

Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!