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Reflections from Advancing Topic Maps: Maintaining Concept Integrity as Names Change

Presentation, was published by Michel Biezunski at 2007-02-27

This presentation is about maintaining databases of names as a network of interrelated information objects.

External Link: download slides

When information is collected as is, as opposed to being organized in advance, the names used to designate subjects show variations that make it impossible to conform to the equation: “one name = one subject”. The constant change to documents that serve as input in the Tax Map system (including IRS publications, instructions, forms, FAQs) makes
the maintenance of such a knowledge base a moving target. The problem is even made worse because topics not only are acquired from the bottom-up, but they undergo transformations, both automatic and manual (by experts), in order to facilitate intelligibility for the end users. At the end of the day, the names present in TaxMap differ somewhat from the initial names as they occur in sources.

One of the basic requirements for the maintenance of this knowledge base is that the origin of each of the names used be traceable, even—and especially—if it has gone through a variety of processes. After a period of trial and error attempts, the solution we found is to maintain the database of names used for topics as a network of interrelated information objects, in which all operations on names are recorded. The “Data Projection Model”, a generic model for accountable information systems, serves as the conceptual
foundation for this application.


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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

Graduate from the Topic Maps Lab