[sc34wg3] XTM 1.1 issues: MergeMap

Murray Altheim sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:38:32 +0000

Mason, James David (MXM) wrote:
> I was not in on all the discussions in Atlanta, so I don't know what was said
> there about this subject:
> 	--- <mergeMap>
> 	Another question is whether the <mergeMap> element really belongs in
> an interchange syntax. The capability for merging topic maps is useful, but
> the act of doing so is really an act of authoring, and putting <mergeMap> in
> the syntax is really putting authoring features in the syntax.


I don't think of <mergeMap> as authoring, but a component in
modularization. I'm certain that it can be valuable in authoring
too, but to me its essential functionality is the ability to
create ontological components that can be mixed and matched as
needed. The ability to scope the merged Topics is also important
in being able to extract the merged set from the soup one has

In my experience, the mergeMap feature in both XTM and LTM has
proven invaluable, as I don't generally deliver a single Topic
Map document, I deliver a set of modules. As such, having an
interchange syntax absent <mergeMap> or #MERGEMAP would seriously
hinder the ability to maintain the set of Topic Maps as modules,
as I'd then have to perform a pre-merge for delivery and lose
the modularity, a feature I'm sure is appreciated by those who
don't want the entirety of the package, or want to reuse various

In summary, it helps keep the module soup organized in LTM and
XTM. If you like your soup organized... I do. I would guess
anyone using Topic Maps for ontology modelling work would too,
as monolithic ontologies are pretty useless.


Murray Altheim                          http://www.altheim.com/murray/
Strategic Services Development Manager
The Open University Library and Learning Resources Centre
The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK               .

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