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A Formal Model for Topic Maps

Paper, was published by Pascal Auillans, Patrice Ossona de Mendez, Pierre Rosenstiehl, and Bernard Vatant at 2002-06-12

This paper proposes a model, based on the mathematical notions of hypergraph and connexity.

External Links: download paper, ACM record, and more information

Topic maps have been developed in order to represent the structures of relationships between subjects, independently of resources documenting them, and to allow standard representation and interoperability of such structures. The ISO 13250 XTM specification have provided a robust syntactic XML representation allowing processing and interchange of topic maps. But topic maps have so far suffered from a lack of formal description, or conceptual model. We propose here such a model, based on the mathematical notions of hypergraph and connexity. This model addresses the critical issue of topic map organization in semantic layers, and provides ways to check semantic consistency of topic maps. Moreover, it seems generic enough to be used as a foundation for other semantic standards, like RDF.


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In Musica migrans we mapped the life courses of musicians in the 19th century. Topic Maps provides us the flexibility we need to model the diversity in the lives of the artists.

Lutz Maicher
Musica Migrans
Topic Maps Lab auf der Cebit 2011

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