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Clearing the skies: From tag clouds to topic maps

Presentation, was published by Stian Lavik at 2007-03-20

This presentation discusses the pedagogical rationale and the technical architecture for a web service application

External Link: download slides

The Web 2.0 paradigm is upon us. The users are gradually become the center for activities, resources and processes. It is more about sharing and communities and less about systems. People participate in communitybased portals, such as flickr, del.icio.us and youtube, and they decide for themselves what communities they want to take part in.

The use of tags to markup content is one of the fundamental concepts in the Web 2.0 paradigm. Even if meta tagging has been used to describe and classify content for many years, only recently have users all over the web been using shared tags to build online interest based communities and to share content.

The next natural step will be to connect the tags together by semantic propositions. Moreover, we argue that by connecting tags together, we will not only achieve more powerful, contextualized and dynamic indexing of content and resources, but it is possible also facilitate learning on another level. By focusing on the subjects and the relation between subjects while working with learning resources, the learner will be able to tie the content to pre-acquired knowledge and hence build strong knowledge structures.

Within the domain of learning, the shifting from a strong emphasis on the so called Virtual Learning Environments towards Personal Learning Environments, the focus changes from administrative, top-down perspective to the user’s individual organization of learning and knowledge building. It is the learner herself that configures her virtual learning environment, controls access levels, etc. One will typically find services the learner subscribes to (learning activity tools, RSS feeds, etc.), links to other important resources, etc.. This drives the digital learning environments towards a more service oriented architecture.
TopicMaps is becoming a recognized way of structuring and navigating knowledge, based on the idea of subjects and the relation between them.

We are developing a web application that facilitates using topicmaps to build and share maps of meta tags. This is primarily on two levels; there is a need to be able to connect various tags together to express extended meaning, and there is a need to connect tags from one system to tags in other systems, to technically show the sameness of the subjects the tags are representing.

In this paper we discuss the pedagogical rationale and the technical architecture for a web service application that promotes aggregation of tags through semantic associations.

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Topic Maps 2007

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The First International Topic Maps Users Conference took place at the Oslo Conference Centre in Norway on March 20-21 2007. Attendees experienced …

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