[sc34wg3] Topic Map - Reference Model ?

Robert Barta sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Sat, 28 May 2005 20:06:36 +1000

On Thu, May 26, 2005 at 05:15:08PM +1000, Anne Marie Cregan wrote:
> So, I would like to invite anyone so inclined to respond to the
> following questions and hopefully shed some light on the matter.


I'll try, hopefully not distorting the representation too much by
being too concise.

> The questions I would invite you to respond to are:
> 1. What do you see as the purpose of the TMRM?

TMDM is somewhat like an "instant TM model". You see it, you
immediately understand this data structure with its names,
occurrences, data and various forms of identification.

TMRM is like a "TM model factory". TMRM only incorporates the "TM
paradigm" in that subjects are reified by 'proxies' and these
are simply collections of 'properties'. What (data) type the values
in these properties are or how the properties are named inside a proxy,
TMRM itself does not say.

This is the task of a disclosure: Here you say that your properties
are 'haircolor' and 'shoesize' and that the values of these are color
sets (red, green, blonde) and integer ranges (10 .. 50).  With such
'ontological commitment' the 'TM model factory' creates a TM

TMDM is 'only' one of the many you might want to create. The way
Patrick et.al. have envisaged this is that different applications
might have a rather different background in terms of the data they
use. Since all of them have TMRM as conceptual background all these
different data repositories can be combined.

> 2. What form do you envisage the TMRM taking? I know there is a
> mathematical model that Robert Barta is working on, but do you see
> there being other parts, and if so, what form would they take, what
> would the function of each part be, and how would they fit together?

TMRM itself is not big, so I do not think there will be many
components. One separate part might be that of path expressions
dealing with (trivial) navigation through an existing map, another
has to cover the disclosure process.

> 3. What do you think is the best way to "ground" subjects? That is,
> to unambiguously and unequivocally identify them in a a way t hat is
> useful and convenient for the rest of the TM-related methodologies?

Woohie. This is a big and hairy topic, so that I chicken out of
an answer. But reading through the introduction of


might give you a hint how TMRM can help here.

> 4. What would you ultimately want to be able to do with the TMRM?
> That is, do you have any use cases in mind that you envisage the
> TMRM would address?

One "use case" may be EII (enterprise information integration) where
different applications see their data "topicmappish" using the TMRM
"one proxy for one subject" paradigm to bring all that data onto a
level where it can be compared identity-wise. But this use case is so
fundamental, that it may appear actually everywhere.

> I appreciate that there are probably no definitive answers to these
> questions right now as the model is still at an early stage of
> development, but I am interested to learn everyone's viewpoint and
> perhaps through this process, to clarify where the areas of
> consensus and of disconnection are.

Well, TMRM has undergone some evolution in the last years.  It became
quite minimalistic eventually, so I would guess that it reached a
point where more abstraction does more bad than good.

Hope this helps.