Thursday, May 06, 2004

Topic Maps

Topic Maps are something I find difficult to grasp. That, is seems, is because they are very different from our normal approach in cataloging. In cataloging (and RDF) a resource is described by using a collection of defined fields (or triples). As I begin to understand Topic Maps it seems the attributes are described and the resource description is built from different collections of topics. This could be all wrong, it is just as I get it at the moment

Here is a How to Topic Maps, Sir! provides an introduction.

Think of the topics and associations as stand-alone objects that have small bits of data attached to them. For those who are in the deep end of object-oriented programming may think "Hey, wait a minute! This is nothing but a tree structure with various properties attached to the nodes." And you would be absolutely correct in that. That is what it is, with certain names and labels attached in clever ways. No magic. No smoke and mirrors. Just a nice little data model with some rather clever ideas and rules through it. Welcome to Topic Maps.

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