SKOS in Topic Maps

I've mentioned here a while ago the new blog of Lars Marius Garshol. His last post is about using SKOS vocabulary in Topic Maps, and is presented as a long overdue school work. Well done.
Now the crucial question is maybe not how you can do it (something Lars Marius shows quite neatly as usual), but why one would want to do that. Adding a real world use case would be cool ...

As simple as possible ...

Those days Planet RDF is buzzing with a bunch of interesting responses to Danny Ayers' provocative question about alternatives to the Semantic Web (if possible simpler than the original stuff). Getting rid of artificial complexity gathered around the basically so-simple RDF model is of course the main preoccupation, and of course, the lack of canonical serialization in XML is seen as a major obstacle to adoption. At SemEmergence, Seth Ladd is crying for it:
Please, W3C, create a standard RDF serialization that elevates RDF as a first class citizen of XML. Everyone else has a schema, why can't we?
Having passed (too much) time those days struggling with the yet-another-serialization syndrom in the latest versions of SWOOP and Protégé, I could not agree more. But waiting for such a (most unlikely) W3C delivery, alternatives solutions pop up and are worth looking at.
Phil Jones pushes the notion of SynWeb, which he defines as a web which doesn't need "key identifiers".
The difference is that the knowledge needed to give semantics to the data resides in the programs which do the combining, rather than in a schema which has been prepared earlier.
No absolute meaning of data, no absolute identifiers, semantics in the application context? Certainly close to our current ramblings on perspectives and aspects.

The simplest and most radical alternative to-date is certainly Phil Dawes' tagtriples, a simple text format for triple statements. Forget URIs, namespaces, XML and the like. Identification is local to a graph (an ordered collection of statements), as indicated in the Tagtriples Model and Semantics (don't run away, that is really as simple as can be).
All occurances [sic] of a particular symbol in a graph must denote the same meaning. [...] The same symbol used in different graphs may or may not denote the same meaning - it is up to the consumer of the information to interpret how the symbol/meanings correspond.


Introducing SPEK

Follow-up of the previous post. I eventually delivered a first release of SPEK, an RDFS vocabulary leveraging SKOS to express perspectives, aspects and hubjects.
More to come ...


Perspectives and SKOS

Just thought time was ripe to push hubjects and Michel Biezunski's perspectives in the SKOS forum. Watch this place ...

Subject classification with DITA and SKOS

DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) has been developed by IBM since 2001, and introduces itself as a "topic-oriented architecture". DITA has its own definition of a topic, which is a bit different, and in a sense more restrictive, than the one(s) found in Topic Maps.
A topic is a unit of information that describes a single task, concept, or reference item.
The new publication, really worth reading, comes with a challenging academic subtitle : "Managing formal subjects", hiding in fact a very pragmatic approach:
In a topic-oriented architecture such as DITA, content is authored in small, independent units that are assembled to provide help systems, books, courses, and other deliverables. Each unit of information answers a single question for a specific purpose. That is, each topic has specific, independent subject matter -- the very reason that these units of information are called topics.
The paper then expands very neatly on how SKOS can be used to declare what the subject of a topic is, claiming that "subject" here is to be understood in the same sense than in "Published Subject Indicator".


Placeopedia = Google Earth + Wikipedia

You all waited for it, here it is : connecting the most amazing geographical interface Google Earth with the ever-growing Wikipedia. Go to Placeopedia, pick an article in Wikipedia, find the place of the thing on Google Maps, and pinpoint it. And that's it. You got a cool Wikipedia + Google Earth subject indicator. Just added the Very Large Telecope and Parañal Observatory. Better choose the "satellite" view to see something in those places, though, and don't look for accomodations around, they are sparse ... After that, add Placeopedia data to Google Earth, and see new added objects in real time. Awesome!

[2015-02-23] Yet another dead project ...


The Search for the Perfect Language

Started diving in this fascinating book by Umberto Eco last week-end. Discovered the French translation available in my local library. Really worth reading, to understand that what we are doing here and in many other places today is just another episode of a very long story. A quote among many, this one from Descartes in a letter to Marin Mersenne in 1629 (my own translation from French, hope it makes sense).
I take that such a language is possible, and that the science on which it depends can be found, by mean of which farmers could best grasp the truth of things than philosophers do today. But don't hope to ever see it in use; that would suppose great changes in the order of things, and would need the world to be a heaven on earth, something worth to propose only in the world of novels.


Topic Maps for Libraries Wiki

Announced by Suellen on Topic Maps list. Wiki Home quote :
Elaine Svenonius in her book The Intellectual Foundations of Information Organization states that the purpose of information organization is "to bring essentially like information together and to differentiate what is not exactly alike".
Suellen has also established a Topic Maps Interest Group within LITA (Library & Information Technology Association). I hope she will take the time to comment a little more about it here.

Lars Marius is alive and blogging at TMRA'05

If you wonder where Topic Maps folks are today, you will find some of them, including Jack making the keynote, in Leipzig at TMRA'05. Lars Marius Garshol is there of course, and seems to have fun feeding his brand new blog, which is called simply "Larsblog" because he's a guy who loves simplicity. But I'll suggest him a more sexy name.
What about "Beer, Topic Maps and Everything."?


Anti-SPAM measures for comments

We've started for a month or so to get a few SPAM attacks on universimmedia, in the form of random comments linking to a variety of sites generaly having nothing to do with the post. I've suppressed them manually so far, but their number has increased those days, so I have enforced the word verification procedure which should stop comments generated by automatic SPAM software.
Sorry for the extra inconvenient in posting comments.