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From Kal Ahmed <>
Subject Topic Maps for Forrest ? (was RE: Proposal: alternative for book.xml)
Date Mon, 18 Mar 2002 17:33:36 GMT

I am a relative newcomer to this forum - I've only lurked for a couple of 
days. So this is just a tentative suggestion, but it seems to me that you 
are dealing with some pretty complex issues which might be (partially if 
not completely) addressed by the ISO Topic Maps standard [1] and its XML 
incarnation XTM [2]. As well as being quite capable of representing content 
organisation structures such as books/chapters/sections, topic maps can be 
used to represent the relationship between concepts and can be used to 
relate those concepts to the data occurrences which provide more 
information about them. A good introduction to topic maps is Steve Pepper's 
TAO of Topic Maps [3]. One important thing about topic maps is that they 
are mergeable - so individual projects can define their own topic maps and 
you can take those individual topic maps, merge them together and create a 
topic map for the whole site.

In practical terms, I am the lead developer of a project producing a topic 
map processing engine, TM4J [4] which provides a Java API to parse, merge 
and access topic map information. I am also separately developing an 
integration with Velocity and there has been interest on the TM4J dev 
mailing list in doing something similar with Cocoon. TM4J is open-source, 
under the Apache license and makes use of a lot of Apache code, so if there 
is an opportunity to give something back, I would be happy to do so!




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