Ownership of Names (was Re: Public identifiers and topic maps)

W. Eliot Kimber eliot at dns.isogen.com
Wed Sep 30 17:53:41 BST 1998

At 05:16 PM 9/30/98 +0200, Michel Biezunski wrote:
>>As an aside, I note that much of this discussion revolves around issues of
>>the definitions of key terms in the discussion, which is, of course, one of
>>the purposes of topic navigation maps: to define things.
>Topic Navigation Maps do ***_NOT_**** define things. They (only!) offer a
>of interchanging whatever somebody says about something, including
>if any. They can be used even when no definitions are involved.

But doesn't the act of associating a name with mentions of that name (a
topic to its members) serve to define what the topic means to the creator
of the topic?

As I have always understood topic maps, they serve to relate topics. A
topic is a named idea that is an opinion about some thing.  I can't talk
about a thing until I define what I mean by that thing, which is what a
topic does.

For example, if I create the topic "Lake Geneva" and connect it to the
latitude and longitude of a body of water in Switzerland, I have defined
what I mean by "Lake Geneva" in the context of this particular topic map.


<Address HyTime=bibloc>
W. Eliot Kimber, Senior Consulting SGML Engineer
ISOGEN International Corp.
2200 N. Lamar St., Suite 230, Dallas, TX 75202.  214.953.0004

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