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RDF and Topic Maps. An Exercise in Convergence

Paper, was published by Graham Moore at 2001-05-21

This paper look at the reasons of bringing together Topic Maps and RDF.

External Link: download paper

There has long been a sense in the semantic web community that there is a synergy between the work of ISO and TopicMaps.org on TopicMaps and that of the W3C on RDF. This paper looks at why and how we can bring these models together to provide a harmonised platform on which to build the semantic web.

The reasoning behind bringing together these two standards is in the fact that both models are intent on describing relationships between entities with identity. The question we look to answer in this paper is ‘Is the nature of the relationships and the identified entities the same’. If we can show this to be true then we will be able to have a common model that can be accessed as a TopicMap or as a RDF Model. To make this clearer, if we have a knowledge tool X we would expect to be able to import some XTM syntax, some RDF syntax and then run either a RDF or TMQL query in the space of tool X and expect sensible results back across the harmonised model.

In order to achieve this aim we need to show a model to model mapping between the two standards. We present the TopicMap model, the RDF model, a discussion on modelling versus mappings and then a proposed mapping between the two. As part of the mapping we make suggestions as to the changes that could be made to better support interoperation and finally we conclude and provide an insight into future work.


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The first priority of H-maps is the simplicity of usage. Hereby issues of technology and science can be dealt effectively – while ensuring consistent compliance with the Topic Maps standards.

Steffen Hüttner
Topic Maps Lab auf der Cebit 2011

Graduate from the Topic Maps Lab