Hi Everyone, (01)
The subject of Topic maps versus OWL is very important to work I am
currently doing. I am participating in a group that will be
standardizing a DOD taxonomy framework and we will need to choose a
representation format. Clearly, topic maps and OWL are the two front
With regard to taxonomies, topic maps seem to have an advantage in
simplicity, while OWL has the advantage in semantic validity. Also,
some of the semantic foundations are identical in that Topic maps do
support class/subclass associations. Unfortunately, the class modeling
in topic maps is very weak. Thus, one key judgement criteria is
"how important is robust class modeling to effective classification?" (03)
Topic maps rely mostly on name-based classification (and merging) while
OWL classes have robust properties, set theoretics and mapping.
I plan on working through these details to support a recommendation in
the next few weeks. Comments, suggestions and insights are welcome. (04)
Best wishes, (05)
- Mike (06)
Jack Park wrote on 1/1/2004, 12:24 PM: (07)
> Peter Yim wrote:
> >>> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 2004 is shaping up quite nicely already!
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Michael C. Daconta
Chief Scientist, APG McDonald Bradley, Inc.
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