[sc34wg3] Analysis of TMRM Use Cases

Kal Ahmed sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Mon, 12 Apr 2004 16:51:59 +0100

On Mon, 2004-04-12 at 08:50, Steve Pepper wrote:

> | TMDM (or whatever its name is now) would then be a particular
> | "instantiation" in this generic model, exactly as Steve N., Jan,
> | et.al.  have envisioned (thx to Jan for explaining this to me
> | a while back).
> Again, there is a certain intellectual satisfaction in this,
> but it begs further important questions:
> * What other "instantiations" already exist or might exist? 
We don't know what other instantiations might exist - I suspect that
that is unknowable. I suspect that the number of existing, published
instantiations that we can refer to as a community is very small -
probably not large enough for a rigourous analysis.

> * Do we want to call those "instantiations" Topic Maps?

Doing this will dilute what topic maps stands for and will cause
confusion in a user community that is just getting to grips with the TAO

> * If so, to what extent does it serve or damage the interests
>   of Topic Maps users for there to be multiple models, all of
>   which can legitimately be called Topic Maps?

I think the biggest problem with multiple models will be uncertainty.
These are the things I (as a consumer of the standard) would want to

How will I know that the product that says it is a topic maps processor
will handle my topic map data ? 
What if it is the "wrong model" ? 
How do I as a potential user, work with this definition of topic maps ? 
If everyone can have different models, how do I transfer skills from one
topic map project to another ? 
Do I have to use expensive consultants on every project to get a new
model developed ? 
Where are the linkages between models ? Do consultants get involved
again to define those ?
Why was I told that ISO 13250 topic maps were TAO and now I'm being told
that its something else and TAO is just one kind of topic map ? 
Why do none of the existing implementations support this new kind of
model and how much faith can I have that future versions of ISO 13250
won't go meta on me again ?

Some of these might be addressed by the RM in future versions, but some
I think are more fundamental questions regarding the nature of a
standardisation process that can allow this fundamental change to occur.
> But this goes way beyond a mere restatement of 13250, which is
> what we are supposed to be doing at the moment, and it is very
> definitely *not* as urgent as TMQL and TMCL.
I strongly agree with the first part - this is beyond a restatement of
ISO 13250. Whether it is more or less important than TMQL and TMCL is
irrelevant - I think the important thing is that TMQL and TMCL *must
not* be forced into dependency on the RM.


Kal Ahmed, Techquila
Standards-based Information Management
e: kal@techquila.com
w: www.techquila.com
p: +44 7968 529531