Peter Yim wrote: (01)
>>> Are topic maps out of the running?
>> Some say you need both Topic Maps and OWL, though I cannot understand
>> why. In my mind OWL supersedes Topic Maps..
Well, I can't let that one go uncommented. There was an unfortunate
"boxing match" between two Erics, one from topic maps and one from RDF.
It was held as a humorous interlude at Extreme Markup 2000. When both
Erics came on stage, they both sang praises of the other's "camp".
Unfortunately, that's not what the press picked up on. Thus it was that
RDF and XTM became "at odds" with each other. (02)
In the end, no matter what is said and done, OWL, RDF, whatever, and XTM
or HyTM (sgml topic maps, the original ISO 13250 dtd) are serializations
with which you can ship information around and have it arrive in a
decypherable form at the other end of whatever wire is used. At the same
time, each brings to the table some manner of underlying process model
and semantics. XTM, for instance, makes a minimalist ontological
committment to objects necessary to capture topics, which are known as
"the place you go to find out everything that is knowable about a
particular subject" and a subject is "anything you can talk about." The
topic maps underlying process model simply dicates that if two topics
are about the same subject, they must be merged. AFIK, OWL doesn't
require such processing. I would therefore respectfully submit that, if
you happen to need the organizational power that comes with topic maps,
no matter how you construct them (yup, they have been written in OWL),
then you must give due consideration to the one process requirement that
makes topic maps what they are: you must merge objects which talk about
the same subject. I therefore don't think that anything out there today
has superseded topic maps. (03)
In the end, there are ways to construct ontologies such that they are,
by default, topic maps, and nobody needs to know you did that. (04)
2004 is shaping up quite nicely already!
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