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Subject: RE: [tm-pubsubj-comment] formal syntax (was: Tuesday Conference)

Title: RE: [tm-pubsubj-comment] formal syntax (was: Tuesday Conference)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Murray Altheim [mailto:m.altheim@open.ac.uk]

> You have plenty of criticism of XTM, though given that XTM contains
> the ability to establish a fairly rich graph using a simple syntax,
> there's absolutely no reason why XTM syntax cannot be used to
> describe a rich taxonomy/ontology. It's a matter of developing the
> topic and association types used in that graph, and this TC is trying
> to describe how these should be published.

OK, I checked that: I can express anything I want to say in XTM, if it has to be (*sigh*). As I have seen here in Barcelona, XTM is more or less accepted as a worthy contribution by at least some relevant RDF people here ("if you have PSI, why shouldn't we use them").

I would prefer to have an XML Schema, sorting Typology from Topics, using inheritance, modular XML namespaces, etc, etc. But there are samples pro and con: Open GIS Consortium has started GML using DTD and then moved to Schema "on-the-fly" and now they are pretty stable and happy.

SVG is a lovely standard, and they use a DTD. Anything goes, if the standard is strong itself.

But, tell me, why not use XTM for PSI then? Are we ashamed of XTM?
> I'm in a sense waiting for something to settle before I publish a
> preliminary set of logical primitives as an XTM topic map, which is
> then usable in creating taxonomies and ontologies. Currently, XTM
> 1.0 includes association types for superclass and subclass (as PSIs),
> so taxonomies are already representable. Just as you mention XSLT,
> it's certainly possible to transform from any other XML-based
> taxonomy syntax into XTM and vice versa. I was in the process of
> working on Cyc when the OpenCyc project began, so I'm now waiting
> on that one too. *sigh*

I have to confess I do not know OpenCyc. Tell me more.

> Last year, Peter Becker and I began working on an XML syntax for
> Conceptual Graphs but were unable to figure out the abstract model
> behind it. Sowa et al are now working on Common Logic (which will
> include an XML serialization syntax), which I believe could be
> transformable bidirectionally into XTM syntax. If nobody else does
> it, I'll do it. But we'll have to wait awhile for that one, as I
> don't that train is moving that quickly right now.

If so, we should consider Schema !!! One more argument: we will need it to play a role within Web Services and ebXML.

> I really don't see all the weaknesses you describe as being barriers
> to implementation. No syntax is ever perfect but I believe XTM is
> sufficient, that we hit the 80/20 point pretty dead on. Those in
> the "20 league" will always want those missing features, but adding
> them or abandoning XTM at this point would simply cause people to
> abandon topic maps. We need some stability more than we need
> perfection right now, both in terms of syntax and specification.
> This TC's goal is to provide a simple means of publishing Published
> Subjects. If the TC fails, it will fail due to making the methodo-
> logy either too difficult or too removed from XTM, in my opinion.

OK, then let's use XTM for PSI, or drop XTM completely (no joke)
We might even use RDF for PSI. But - *please!!!* not a third thing.
If I can find the time, I would even think about re-writing XTM using XML Schema, so that any valid XTM document would remain valid.

I also had discussions with Steven Newcomb and Michel Biezunski today about adding an event-type with a temporal extent attribute and a location-type with a gml:boundingBox. May this points to the direction of an XTM 1.1 ....


Thomas Bandholtz
CM / KM Division Manager; XML Netw ork Moderator
Competence Center Content Management

Kaltenbornweg 3
D50679 Köln / Cologne
+49 221 8299 264


>       In the evening
>       The rice leaves in the garden
>       Rustle in the autumn wind
>       That blows through my reed hut.  -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu

I loved Haiku when I was young. For the moment I only remember a German translation of one that I've read in Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums:

Der Sperling hüpft über die Veranda. Seine Füße sind naß.

This is a spring symbol.

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