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   Re: Announce: Topic Map Standard out for Final Committee Draft Ballot

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  • From: Ralph Ferris <ralph@fsc.fujitsu.com>
  • To: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 05:55:22 -0500

At 06:27 PM 11/16/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Hi Ralph:
>I am reasonably sure that one can implement topic map 
>functionality in a set of relational tables and SQL queries, and then, 
>as with RDF, export a compliant SGML/XML instance of that 
>information.  Do you know of any reason why this would not 

I'm reluctant to make a definitive statement here. To a first
approximation, the approach your suggesting appears workable. Whether it
will work efficiently for complex TNMs - and TNMs can become very complex -
is another matter. As I believe you're aware, the path to TNMs has been a
long, and at times circuitous, one. The draft that now exists might have
been titled "Topic Navigation Maps - Or, the Return of Vannevar Bush",
intended as it is to capture complex inter-relationships, i.e., "real"
hypertext. How well that maps into relational, or any other type of
database, is something we'll have to find out.

>Therefore the question:  if one is to implement relationally, 
>what should one consider with an eye towards eventual use 
>of topic maps?

Areas that seem to me to bare particular scruntity include the approaches
to defining topic naming in 5.2.1 Topic Link Architectural Form:

- e.g., "A topic may have zero or more occurrences. If a topic has no
occurrences, it must have at least one name. If a topic has one occurrence
or more, it may have no name." 

- And 5.2.3 Topic Occurrence, 

e.g., "The occurrence role name of an occur element (or, when its
occurrence role name is not specified, the generic identifier of this occur
element) declares the limited contexts within which a topic has the
occurrences referenced by this occur element." 

I suspect that accounting for the "may" and "or" aspects in these
statements could get interesting. Likewise, supporting scoping as defined. 

I have to emphasize though that these are only impressions; I make no claim
to having explored the topic as yet in any detail from the point of view
you're proposing. 

Best regards,

Ralph E. Ferris
Fujitsu Software Corporation  

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