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Information Technology -- SGML applications -- Topic Maps (Second Edition)

Technical Report, was published by Steven R. Newcomb, Michel Biezunski, and Martin Bryan at 2002-05-22

This is the overview on the Topic Maps standard

External Links: download paper and more information

This International Standard provides a standardized notation for interchangeably representing information about the structure of information resources used to define topics, and the relationships between topics. A set of one or more interrelated documents that employs the notation defined by this International Standard is called a topic map. In general, the structural information conveyed by topic maps includes:

  • groupings of addressable information objects around topics (‘occurrences’), and
  • relationships between topics (‘associations’).

A topic map defines a multidimensional topic space — a space in which the locations are topics, and in which the distances between topics are measurable in terms of the number of intervening topics which must be visited in order to get from one topic to another, and the kinds of relationships that define the path from one topic to another, if any, through the intervening topics, if any.


Steven R. Newcomb



Steven R. is project leader of Versavant.

Martin Bryan

No contact information available. 


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As a former information scientist, I am fascinated since 1999 by the capabilities for building Topic Maps-based knowledge systems having the potential to augment human mind. One can model arbitrary knowledge organization systems, deal with semantic heterogeneity, collocate all facts about one subject in one logical place, and with TMQL have semantic retrieval on federated semantic networks. Therefore I expect bright prospects for business concepts building on the exchange of such knowledge snippets via semantic knowledge services.

Alexander Sigel
Topic Maps Lab auf der Cebit 2011

Graduate from the Topic Maps Lab