ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N0255

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Information Technology --

Document Description and Processing Languages


UK National Body Comments to SC 34 N 229 - Topic Map Data Model - An Infoset-Based Proposal





Project editors:





These comments are circulated to the SC 34 members in their entirety.


18 September 2001


For information and review.


SC34 and Liaisons

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Reply to:

Dr. James David Mason
(ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 Chairman)
Y-12 National Security Complex
Information Technology Services
Bldg. 9113 M.S. 8208
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-8208 U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 865 574-6973
Facsimile: +1 865 574-1896
E-mailk: mailto:[email protected]

Ms. Sara Hafele, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Secretariat
American National Standards Institute
25 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Tel: +1 212 642 4937
Fax: +1 212 840 2298
E-mail: [email protected]



UK COMMENTS ON SC 34N0229 A Topic Map Data Model, An

infoset-based proposal


General Comments

The data model fails to support all features of ISO/IEC 13250, and provides information that is not

part of an ISO/IEC 13250 information set. The model must be fully conformant with ISO/IEC 13250

rather than being based on a derivative from the international standard for which there are no formally

recognized definitions.

No allowance is made for the use of facets as part of the data model.


Clause 1 Purpose and Scope

Remove 1st and 2nd sentences of second paragraph (they are unsuitable for an international


Remove "serve many purposes" from end of remaining text in 2nd paragraph.

Remove all material after the 2nd paragraph, especially the last sentence (copyright cannot be

claimed on material submitted for use as a proposed international standard)


Clause 2.2

The required unique identifier of a topic should be distinguished from other potential source locators

(such as a count of topics in an XPath statement)

The set of sort names assigned to a topic should also be part of the information set as it may adjust

the order in which topics are presented.


Clauses 2.3/2.4

The set of sort name and display names should not be grouped in a single Variants information item

as they have different processes applied to them. They should be provided as separate information



Clause 2.5

The last sentence reads "Occurrence information items are considered equal if the values of their

[value], [resource], [scope], and [class] properties are equal." Is this true if their two source locators

differ? (A similar question can be raised in other clauses, but here we are talking about references

between topic maps. Here we are talking about references outside of the topic map, where the

statement is more unsupportable.)


Clause 2.9

The statement "No two information items within the same topic map information set may contain the

same locator information item in their [source locators] property." needs to be proved. Why cannot two

associations contain the same source locators? Surely a pair of topics can be connected by more

than one association.

(The fifth and sixth of the listed constraints also need to be discussed. The latter is incomplete at very

least as topics can have the same base name, providing the names at least have a different scope.)



Clause 3

The standard should not define a processing model, though an informative annex suggesting one

possible one might be acceptable. The standard should, however, contain the formal specification of a

grove that represents the data model.

The standard should not contain a processing model for a language not defined in an international

standard. It should only contain instructions for the processing and representations of elements that

have formally been defined. (None of the additional elements defined in the proposed amendment of

13250 have any formal definitions and therefore defining a processing model for them is premature.)


Clause 5.

The rules for merging topic maps should be published as an annex to 13250 and not as part of

another standard.