[topicmapmail] Are Topic Maps dead?
Trond K. Pettersen
trond.pettersen at bouvet.no
Fri Jun 27 12:49:45 EDT 2008
Are Gulbrandsen wrote:
> On 27. juni. 2008, at 13.15, Are Gulbrandsen wrote:
>> - Much of the conversation has moved into the blogosphere.
> Just as a case in point, this discussion thread has now entered the
> blogosphere, where Dan Brickley adds some context and interesting
Still, Lischke has a point in that there doesn't really seem to be much
life, especially new, in the TM community. Other communities also have
bloggers and mailing lists -- where activity is far greater than what's
being seen here (me not being a frequent poster - hardly poster at all,
The ones that have responded so far are all people who have been working
with Topic Maps for years.
I also understand how one might get the impression that the number of
companies benefiting from Topic Maps is limited.
Speaking as someone who is working for one of the companies that do
benefit from the technology; in Norway, all of the TM activity is more
or less concentrated around Oslo. I don't live in Oslo, though, and even
though I work for Bouvet, it seems pretty dead from my perspective too
(sometimes I even want to move to Oslo, but then I wake up :D).
While the Semantic Web people host conferences such as the Semantic Days
 in Stavanger, and the local University receives millions of $$ in
funding and support for SW-based research (national, EU, industry),
there is not much going on in the world of Topic Maps.
And the fact that there are tons of books dealing with the Semantic Web,
ontological engineering & RDF/OWL, etc., but no book on Topic Maps (not
counting the XTM-book or conference proceedings), does make the
technology, and community, seem pretty dead too.
In other words: I do understand Lischke's argument, but like you, I
don't agree. I don't believe that Topic Maps is dead ... it's rather the
Topic Maps has great potential that hopefully will spread outside
Oslo/Norway (and Germany + one or two projects in other countries),
As of today, companies are perhaps not indulging themselves in Topic
Maps based projects, but I do believe that things are (eventually) going
As an example, this year's Expert Center for Information Management
(ECIM)  conference, one of the largest IM/Petroleum conferences in
the world, features a workshop on Topic Maps. To me, the fact that this
workshop is a result of the industry itself searching for better ways
to organize information, is an indication of how the enterprise is
starting to pick up on the technology.
Also, as Durusau commented, people are starting to see - and experience
- the limits of search, and programmers, information architects, as well
as -designers are starting to look for ways to enable faceted search and
navigation (see e.g. ). Obviously, Topic Maps has great potential here.
As for information or "knowledge" sharing, I belong to the pessimistic
camp. For now, I think the largest potential is in enriching the user
experience as well as "closed-world" information integration /
management (company A is simply too afraid to share information with
company B). I don't think Topic Maps is inferior to the Semantic Web in
this regard, though.
Trond K. Pettersen | Konsulent
Bouvet ASA, Fabrikkveien 10, 4033 Stavanger
Tlf: 51 95 04 50 | Mob: +47 902 52 029
http://www.bouvet.no/ | trond.pettersen at bouvet.no
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