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Re: [xml-dev] Re: Topic Maps - current state of the art?

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your insighful thoughts on this subject. It seems clear to me that the idealism of youth is still burning strongly for you at least.

The good thing about the TAO paper is that it's aimed at educating the layman, which is me at present. It builds on what is familiar to me and makes a convincing case, in large part as I have a problem that I am seeking to solve and this version of TMs seems to offer a solution. Also, there are are some implentations that are close to what I envisaged prior to my looking around (why reinvent something that already exists).

Now you are telling me that there is something important that I should know of, that is like the TAO 'version' of TMs, but better. While your Gordon Moore quote is interesting, in this case the quote that comes to my mind is from an past employer who, after introducing me to the staff in the office on my first day, finally said that his job was to "get drunk and fall over with the clients". I think what he meant was that sometimes, in order to 'close the deal', he found himself in unexpected circumstances. Thankfully I have never had such a responsibility, but my point is this: What exactly are you trying to sell me (in the market place of ideas)?

I read the links you sent me, and while I sense there is something important there, and you are an eloquent writer, at the same time I am lost. To some extent I feel I am looking at Egyptian Hieroglyphs pre Rosetta Stone. I now feel that to understand the difference between TM as encapsulated in XTM and the vision of HyTime that inspired your early TM efforts, I need to understand HyTime.

If as I read on Wikipedia, the (dumbed-down?) W3C version of HyTime is the XLink standard, again, in terms of the market-place of ideas, its not looking promising (but as an amateur historian of ideas I am now somewhat intrigued).

As I understand it, the HyTime standard not only allowed you to create maps by defining nodes/topics and associations between nodes, but also to go further and map the internal content of occurrences of the nodes/topics as well, something called a 'grove'. To me this is starting to sound pretty much like a Graph Database, of which there are a few popular free alternatives.

Thanks for your assistance, I will understand this difference (divergence) but am in need of a Rosetta Stone at this point.

Steve Cameron

On Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:06 AM, Steve Newcomb <srn@coolheads.com> wrote:
I must admit that many say, as you are now saying, that they have found
the TAO article very helpful to them.  I guess the lesson is: We never
know in advance what the effects of our actions will be.  The one thing
we can be fairly sure about is that, as John Lennon famously put it,
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."   (:^)

From my perspective, the "TAO" article by Steve Pepper permanently
confounded topic mapping, in the public's mind, with a single model,
which was later codified as the so-called Topic Maps Data Model (TMDM).
 It changed the meaning of "Topic Maps" from what I expected it to mean
into something that is fundamentally opposed to the agenda I was working
on when I coined the term, and both long before and long since then, too.

I wish I had a nickel for each of the times I've been asked, "Isn't
there an RDF vocabulary for Topic Maps?", as if topic mapping could be
boiled down to a specific syntax.  From the very beginning of Topic Maps
in 1991, that was exactly what I hoped Topic Maps would NOT be.  The
larger vision that I was pursuing was also the primary goal of the
precursor ISO 10744 HyTime standard, which I also co-drafted and
co-edited, and of HyTime's precursor, the now-long-neglected drafts of
ISO 10743 Standard Music Description Language.  I was a founding
co-editor of that one, too, starting in 1986.  (It has been a long and
weirdly eventful journey.)

Honest, capable, and respectable persons can have very serious
differences.  Here I'll paraphrase something Graham Moore once said to
me, "You can't make a useful industrial standard your way!  An
industrial standard has to boil down to something much smaller and more
concrete."  In vital respects, he was deeply correct, and I've always
been grateful for his candor.  But if it's true, then the *reasons why*
it's true are not good reasons, because those reasons oppose the
increase of human understanding, global prosperity, and the public

On 10/21/2013 07:26 AM, Stephen Cameron wrote:
> So, I have bought the book (found it in Australia cheaper than postage
> from the US) and am looking forward to a good read on an interesting
> subject.
> But having browsed the subject today, this article below seems to be the
> best introduction I came across, the analogies to familiar things (like
> book indexes) being very helpful to my understanding.
>   The TAO of Topic Maps
>   <http://www.ontopia.net/topicmaps/materials/tao.html>


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