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   RE: [xml-dev] Wikipedia and Topic Maps

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  • To: "'Bullard, Claude L \(Len\)'" <len.bullard@intergraph.com>, <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Wikipedia and Topic Maps
  • From: "Bob Wyman" <bob@wyman.us>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 20:20:54 -0500
  • In-reply-to: <15725CF6AFE2F34DB8A5B4770B7334EE07206978@hq1.pcmail.ingr.com>
  • Reply-to: <bob@wyman.us>
  • Thread-index: AcTWaKcA4sKF0+TpTKG66XQBR6ZBEwBoKvGg

Claude L Bullard wrote:
> Would a wikipedia be improved if the topic map model were used
> for creating it?
	Depending on your goals and what part of the "topic map model" you
focused on, the "improvement" could be profound...
	The key to doing this right is to have the Wikipedia focus on
identifying the "subject" -- not the "topics". Let someone else produce the
topic map itself. Wikipedia should focus on making alternative topic maps
possible -- not on imposing a single topic map on all readers.
	The really interesting thing about the Pepys diary project isn't the
topics, it is that distinct "subject indicators" are being assigned to each
of the objects, events, etc. in the diary. Given these assignments, it
becomes possible for others to create their own topic maps that organize the
various subject indicators into alternative taxonomies -- that express
different views of the world or are defined for different languages.
	Unfortunately, the Pepys diary project is forced to create its own
subject-indicators. Thus, their utility is limited. We would be much better
off if the author had available a list of standard subject-indicators for
subjects that aren't specific to Pepys or the specific text.
	Some of the power that can come from sharing common subject
indicators can be seen in the fact that the author of the Pepys diary
project uses the subject-indicator http://psi.ontopia.net/cia/factbook/#FR
to indicate "France" rather then defining a project-specific
subject-indicator. This means that any topic map which relies on the Ontopia
subject-indicators can be used to access Pepys diary -- without any need to
agree on the Topic Map itself or even on the language of the topic map.
	Ideally, each article in the Wikipedia would have its own
subject-indicator. Then, people would be enabled to build their own Topic
Maps that showed how each of the "subjects" fit into their own personal or
group-shared ontologies. The opportunity to share information and compare
viewpoints would be significantly enhanced.
	Too often, people focus on the "topic" part of "topic maps." My
personal feeling is that the real power of the method is in identifying
"subjects" in a fashion independent of the topic structure. Subject
indicators free the knowledge from the constraints of classification. This
is a very good thing.
	So, let Wikipedia define the subject-indicators and then start any
number of other projects in any number of other languages and expressing any
number of other world views which then map those subject-indicators to the
particular biases inherent to the topic-maps that they are most comfortable.
Free the data from classification. 

		bob wyman


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