[sc34wg3] Analysis of TMRM Use Cases

Steve Pepper sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Wed, 7 Apr 2004 15:32:24 +0200

Thanks to Patrick Durusau and Steve Newcomb for submitting
N490 (Topic Maps -- Reference Model Use Cases).

The purpose of that document (which WG3 requested at its May
2003 meeting) was to help us arrive at a common understanding
of what the *purpose* of the Reference Model is, because without
such an understanding it is impossible to evaluate the need
for a reference model or the suitability of the current draft.

Having studied N490 it seems to me that the purpose of the RM,
as the editors envision it, can be summed up as follows:

   To enable the documentation of the specific merging
   rules that are required to be applied by a particular
   Topic Maps application [1]

I believe that this objective can be satisfied by the TMDM
in combination with TMQL (or by the TMDM in combination with
TMCL, which in turn uses TMQL). If that is the case, then I do
not believe that N490 provides sufficient justification for
developing and standardizing a completely separate reference

Of course, that does not mean that there cannot be a real
justification for the TMRM; it simply means that the rationale
still hasn't been well enough explained and/or understood.

Because we felt that it might not be immediately apparent
to everyone involved how TMQL relates to merging rules, Lars
Marius and I have written an analysis of N490 showing exactly
how TMQL could be used to satisfy the requirements thrown up
by the use cases. That document is now available as N497 at


We hope that this document will be received in the spirit
in which it is intended -- as a contribution to helping
us reach a common understanding of why we need a reference
model, in order to determine what such a model should look

Best regards,


[1] "Application" is to be understood here in the sense of a
particular solution to a particular business problem with a
particular set of data. It is *not* to be understood in the
sense of a particular Topic Maps product (like TM4J), or a
particular data model (like the TMDM).)

Steve Pepper <pepper@ontopia.net>
Chief Strategy Officer, Ontopia
Editor, XTM (XML Topic Maps 1.0)