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Area Informatics and Topic Maps

Paper, veröffentlicht von Shoichiro Hara am 22.01.2010

This paper is about applying Topic Maps to area studies’ data.

Externer Link: download slides

Area study is an interdisciplinary science that combines many disciplines in order to understand a particular area comprehensively. On the other hand, informatics is a science to understand things objectively, that is, by introducing distinctive “norms” and “methods,” it analyzes them comparatively and reproducibly. Area informatics is a new information paradigm in area studies to integrate individual disciplines of area studies and to create new knowledge about areas objectively and quantitatively.

The Humanities GIS Research Group (H-GIS), the leading research group in Japan applying informatics to the humanities, has been engaged in creating area informatics. It has focused on spatiotemporal aspects of events to treat them quantitatively, and developed spatiotemporal models and tools called HuMap and HuMap. It has compiled a digital gazetteer and a calendar table to help organize spatiotemporal data. Also, it has built many databases of area studies and developed the resource sharing system to integrate these databases seamlessly.

As languages, terminologies and methods are different from each discipline, integration and analysis of data from different disciplines are not realized except in some quantitative data such as times and places. Ontology is expected to be the key conception and technology to overcome this problem. There are several ways to use ontology such as Semantic Web and Topic Maps, and CIAS are trying to apply Topic Maps to our area studies’ data.

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I like the easy but powerful way of merging Topic Maps to extend and combine existing knowledge bases. Thus I see high potential in distributed environments where peer to peer solutions may open the gates to the real Web 3.0.

Marcel Hoyer
Topic Maps Lab auf der Cebit 2011

Graduate from the Topic Maps Lab