See also: Topic (homonymy)
The charts topics (or charts of topics , in English Topic Maps ) are a very general tool of Représentation of knowledge, of which the goal is to incorporate around a single point of indexing (called topic) all information available concerning a given subject, and to connect these points by a semantic Réseau of relations called associations .
HistoryThe concept was developed in the middle of the years 1990 by an autonomous small group of reflection, in particular animated by Steven R. Newcomb and Michel Biezunski. The committee of standardization ISO/CEI JTC1/SC34 transformed the initial idea normalizes some ( ISO/CEI 13250 Charts topics ), whose first edition was published at the beginning of 2000.
The same year, a Consortium named TopicMaps.Org is created to define a Syntaxe XML for this standard, with an aim of making the concepts Topic Maps usable by the Web applications. The first version of this syntax, XTM 1.0 (XML Topic Maps), is published at the beginning of 2001.
Work on the standard continues since, in particular with regard to the definition of a data model, a language of constraints and a query language. Efforts are also in hand to return interopérables Topic Maps with other semantic formats, in particular the recommendation RDF of W3C, and in particular the Langage Web for ontologies OWL. There exists also a API used out of standard (Common Topic Map Application Programming Interface (TMAPI).
In 2005, the standard ISO for the representation and exchanges it knowledge is formally identified under the reference ISO/CEI 13250:2003 .
ConceptA topic map represents information by using “subjects” ( topics" in English ) who represents any concept, such as a person, a group of people, a color, a country, an organization, a software module, an individual file, events, “associations” which represent the relations between these “subjects”, and of the “occurrences” which represent relations between subjects and resources informational which are referred to it.
The interest of the topics maps is to define contexts and particular user profiles, and to facilitate the fusion of topic maps coming from different sources.
Topic Maps introduce several concepts which one presents most original:
TopicThe central concept of Topic Maps is Topic. It represents a single subject and clearly identified in the context and is an authority of at least a class. The index property of the aforesaid the class defines a type of Topic. Topic is described by its (its) name (S), occurrences and role (S) in associations.
SubjectThe subject is what Topic tries to represent formally. Without restricting the nature of its substance, Topic Maps require that it be identified in a single and nonambiguous way. The identification of the subject is problematic. Topic Map on the ambiguous subjects is if not unusable -- at least source of confusions. The addressable subjects resources (for example documents on the Web, databases, etc) are identified in a nonambiguous and optimal way by their URI. If necessary, Topic Maps recommend the creation of a addressable resource corresponding to the subject which will try to provide its best possible definition. The URI of this resource gives access to a written, sound or visual definition of the known as subject.
ResourceThe resources contain information on the subjects of Topics. They can be databases, documents in lines, Web pages, etc a resource concerning the subject of Topic defines an occurrence of this topic. The resources can be classified by type by using for example their metadata.
OccurrenceAn occurrence is a bond towards a resource on the subject of Topic. The occurrences are classifiables by type: document text, image, statistical etc the occurrences are valid in a context.
External bondsFew resources on the charts topics exist in French, a translation of the standard is in hand.
- the Small Guide of the universe Topic Maps introduces the principal concepts as well as examples.
- the group of standardization ISO/CEI JTC1/SC34
- the principal Java project for the implementation of Topic maps
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