Topic Maps are being increasingly accepted as an excellent option
when it is necessary to organize information
according to different points of view simultaneously. Topic Maps are
designed to manage the infoglut, building
valuable information networks from an overabundance of information;
the approach enables the structuring of unstructured resources
of any kind.
Topic Maps can be seen as a description of what there is about a
certain domain (knowledge), by formally
declaring topics, and by linking the relevant parts of the information
set to the appropriate topics.
A topic, in its most generic sense, can be anything. A person, an
entity, a concept, really anything regardless
of whether it exists or has any other specific characteristics. It is
the basis for the topic maps creation.
A topic can have one or more occurrences. An occurrence represents the
information that is specified as relevant to a
given topic. Occurrences and topics exist on two different layers or
domains (physical and conceptual), but they are connected.
These topics also have associations that represent and define
relationships between them. As described in
ISO/IEC 13250:2000, a topic association specifies a relationship
among specific topics (e.g. that Professor is supervisor of
Student or Student studies at
University). A topic association is a link between topics, each of
which plays a role as a member of that
association (e.g. professor supervises the student and student
prepares his thesis).
XML Topic Maps (XTM) 1.0 specification is a XML dialect for writing
Topic Maps, and it was developed to apply the
Topic Maps paradigm to the World Wide Web.