[sc34wg3] Individual contribution on the U.S. N.B. position on the progress ion of Topic Map standards

Kal Ahmed sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Tue, 30 Mar 2004 20:44:21 +0100


Thank you for this - I'm sure that it will give us all a lot to think
about in the Amsterdam meetings (assuming that we can hear ourselves
think over the sound and the fury of the standardisation process ;-)

I feel that I have to make a response now though to put my personal
position on this issue - I'm not sure that I will be present when this
is discussed at the meetings, although I will be attending from Friday

I believe that the four parts of ISO 13250 in progress at the moment
address all four of your points, but as you noted, there is currently no
way for an application to specify merging rules declartively.

However, IMHO, that this is a showstopper for ISO 13250. The original
version of the standard, and its second edition lacked declarative rules
for merging and yet the take-up of the standard has progressed and
people are managing to create all kinds of systems and to interchange
information successfully.

Topic maps are one form of information organisation. I believe that
there *is* a more generalised theory of information organisation which
can be developed to encompass topic maps, RDF, thesaurii, classification
systems and all kinds of information organisation systems. I don't think
that Topic Maps (as stated in ISO 13250-2000 and again in the second
edition) are that generalised theory.

The work on the RM is valuable work which will inform not only topic
maps but also many other apporaches to organising information and
communicating assertions between machines (and ultimately between human
beings). It would be a valuable piece of work to be done either inside
ISO or in some other forum. I don't believe that it is necessary for the
RM to be completed or for the work on ISO 13250 to continue, nor do I
believe that it necessarily need hold up the initial stages of work on
TMCL or TMQL (although if the RM progresses quickly, it may be that it
informs the work on those standards).


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