[sc34wg3] www.topicmaps.com (and topicmaps.org)
Wed, 12 Oct 2005 20:36:41 +0100
Steve Pepper wrote:
> * Bernard
> | I'm as amazed as Murray is that one would want to drop this
> | legacy altogether.
> Whoa, hold on, don't panic, everyone!
> I'm not suggesting we zap our own history or rewrite it or
> anything like that. I apologize if I gave that impression.
> Clearly we cannot just remove topicmaps.org and its contents
> from the face of the earth. But I do think we have a problem in
> that it promotes an image of stagnation in Topic Maps. A lot of
> people who first hear about Topic Maps go to that site and find
> something that has not changed since 2001, when in fact there
> has been an enormous amount of activity and progress.
I agree that this is a very important issue and a sad state
of affairs, and reflects negatively upon the enormous work
that has gone on since 2000/2001.
> Back in 2001, when we agreed to close down TopicMaps.Org and
> move all standards activities to ISO and OASIS, we also agreed
> not to make any changes to topicmaps.org for the time being.
> As the standards work has progressed in ISO, there has arisen
> a need for new PSIs. I proposed that topicmaps.org be brought
> under the ownership of SC34 but Michel, the formal owner, did
> not want to do that. As a result, the committee has (reluctantly)
> decided to use the domain topicmaps.com for all PSIs related
> to the revised version of ISO 13250. Empolis GmbH has graciously
> donated that domain to the community. The *.com PSIs will eventually
> supersede all *.org PSIs.
I don't see any of this as a problem, except that the *.org
site is the base URL for both the XTM 1.0 PSIs and XML namespace,
and that *.org is more appropriate than *.com for this kind of
thing. I don't know of Michel's reasons for not wanting to give
up the *.org domain, but I have perhaps a proposal to make to
both him and the rest of the community.
> All well and good, but that leads to a source of confusion if
> topicmaps.org remains as it is, ostensibly as the site of a
> alternative, rival standardization body for Topic Maps.
> All I am suggesting is that we do something to solve this
> problem. There are two alternatives I can think of (feel
> free to suggest others):
> (1) Move whatever content we wish to preserve from *.org
> to *.com and use a redirect to ensure that the relevant links
> still work. This is what I meant by closing the site down: It
> means there would be no content left there to maintain;
> everything would be at *.com. We would need to conduct a
> dialogue in the community, especially among the former members
> of TopicMaps.Org in order to decide exactly what we wanted to
> preserve. It might be everything, or it might be somewhat less
> than everything.
> (2) Leave everything as it is, but add notices on relevant
> pages explaining the status of TopicMaps.Org, XTM 1.0, etc.
> and including pointers to sites that are more current (in
> particular, isotopicmaps.org and topicmaps.com).
> I see this as a marketing issue. We need to convey a true sense
> of unity and dynamism in the Topic Maps community, not a false
> sense of stagnation and confusion. If you don't agree that the
> current situation conveys the latter, try this: Imagine that
> you are someone new to Topic Maps who has just typed in
> www.topicmaps.org and try to imagine the kind of impression
> the site now conveys.
I agree -- it is is a marketing issue. But it's also a technical
issue, and a community-bonding issue, and a lot of other kinds
of issue. "Domain" (as in "territory") is an appropriate word
here, and the domains for the Topic Map work have been contentious
and contentiously held and manipulated at times. I don't see that
substituting one for the other does anything except exacerbate
the matter. I understand that there have been difficulties you
had little control over.
Given that I am one of the few people of the original group who
isn't either a consultant or a vendor who makes any money on
these decisions, I can claim to some measure of neutrality on
what happens to the topicmaps.org domain. I don't claim to be
entirely neutral, but I would hope that there is still some
measure of trust in my judgment, as there was when I was
maintaining the doctypes.org site in 2000.
I am willing to take on a task. I was the maintainer/archivist of
the documents (prose and DTDs) during the development of XTM 1.0,
and if Michel is willing, I would be willing to once again take
up the task of altering the topicmaps.org web site. My time is a
bit precious for the next month or so, but I would be willing to
commit to this by the end of the year:
Update the contents of the topicmaps.org web site to:
1. reinstate as many extant historical versions of the spec
in development as are available, with links forward and
backward between them (no significant changes to the
content would occur, except to label the links appropriately
as per DCMI or W3C practice);
2. take the currently-posted spec and backlink it into that
3. take the currently-posted spec and forward link it into
the current ISO spec (with appropriate communication
between myself and someone in the committee)
4. Write up a note to be linked from that page (upon approval
of a consensus on the ISO committee, or authored by the
ISO committee, I don't care which) explaining the status
of XTM 1.0 vs. 1.1, with that note linked in the Status
of this Document section on the XTM 1.0 Specification.
5. to write up (i.e., improve) the page at:
so that it is more of a suitable index document, in a
manner similar to:
with appropriate sections for "current", "superceded", etc.
6. as new documents (and areas of work) come along, I'm
willing to make and maintain links to them. This would
include things like TMQL, TMRM, TMDM, etc. as determined
by the ISO committee.
If Michel and the rest of this group are largely okay with this
proposal, I think it might go a long way towards providing the
kinds of historical documentation some of us would deeply
appreciate. As I said before, I can't imagine anyone would be
against the posting of our history.
I would be willing to begin work on this as soon as I was given
the keys to the site (though after I write up the XCL DTD for
Pat Hayes, one other pressing obligation between now and Nov.).
What do people think of this idea?
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 .
All you have to do is spend any time around any scientists or
academics to discover that they all disagree with each other
and believe that their way of doing it is the only right and
true way and that nobody else knows anything. -- Neil Gaiman