Topic Maps and the Semantic Turn in IT
The 2nd International Topic Maps Users Conference in Norway is coming up in April – a good occasion to review the potential of Topic Maps to further the Semantic Turn in Information Technology. SWC‘s Tassilo Pellegrini interviewed Graham Moore from Networked Planet who, among many other things, was responsible for the development of the K42 Topic Map Engine. Here’s just a brief preview of questions and answers in the interview:
Q: “Creating Context” is probably the crucial motto when it comes to realize the Social Web. How do you perceive of this “Semantic Turn” in IT?
A: Context is King. If you are selling ads, they are worth more â€˜in contextâ€™, if you are looking for new music you want it to be relevant to you. […]. [But] this semantic turn isnâ€™t just about contextualizing ads, it seems to be part of a much broader effort for the enterprise to want deal in smarter information, smarter content.
Q: Topic Maps has traditionally been designed for inhouse use for knowledge management. The current trends go towards the web, bringing up the issue of interoperability or data portability. How do Topic Maps deal with this issue?
A: […] Topic Maps is always striving towards the subject uniqueness objective, one topic per subject. Thus it inherently has a mechanism of merging, whereby two topics, when deemed to be the same, are merged. Merging consists of taking the union of all properties of both topics and creating a new topic. You canâ€™t do this generically with XML. It doesnâ€™t have the notion of merging as part of its nature. […].