Topic Maps, implemented through the ISO/IEC 13250 standard, are designed to facilitate the organisation and navigation of large collections of information objects by creating meta-level perspectives of their underlying concepts and relationships. This paper will examine the issues involved in using the standard to create Topic Maps that enable this objective.
The TAO of Topic Maps provides a non-technical introduction to topics, associations and occurrences (TAO) and other concepts (the IFS and BUTS of topic maps), relating them to things that are familiar to all of us from the realms of publishing and information management, and attempting to convey some idea of the uses to which topic maps will be put in the future.
This paper aims to provide a short introduction to the new topic map standard, and to illustrate some potential applications of topic maps, particularly in the area of encyclopaedia publishing. It is based on the author's participation in the development of the topic map standard (representing Norway in SC34, the ISO committee responsible for SGML and related standards), and two years' collaboration with leading reference works publishers in Norway, Denmark, Poland and Germany.