Topic Maps toolbox

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What is Topic Map?

Topic Maps is a standard for information management and interchange. A Topic map represents a collection of statements, in which attributes (termed Occurrences) and interrelations (Associations) are specified for primary subjects (Topics). A Topic can represent a subject as abstract as the user desires – anything from a physical object, to an idea, to an opinion on an idea. Topic Maps is a concept formally defined in ISO 13250 (referred to in this project as strict Topic Maps), making it suitable for computer implementation.Simple Topic Maps is a concept defined in the context of this project to be a simplified version of the strict Topic Maps standard. Defining fewer constructs, it is easier to use, but restricts possible analysis.

A Topic map can be viewed as a network of connected items. Each Topic Maps item is an instance of a Topic Maps construct, which can be thought of as a schema for the item. The different constructs are:

  • Topic map – The whole network of items is represented by a Topic map item
  • Topic – A Topic item represents a single data item.
  • Topic name – Each Topic item may have zero or more Topic name items, representingsubject names for the Topic.
  • Variant – Each Topic name item may have zero or more Variant items, variations of the Topic name.
  • Occurrence – Each Topic may have zero or more Occurrences, each representing a single attribute.
  • Association – A data-data relation (a relation between multiple Topics) is represented by an Association item.
  • Association role – Each Association may involve multiple Topics, each of which have a specific reason for being in the Association. These reasons are represented by Association role items.

Topic Map operations provided by toolbox

Various Topic Maps operations are provided by the toolbox – version conversion, validation,and export operations. The validation operation and export operation are only defined for strict Topic maps

  • The version conversion operations convert strict Topic maps into simple Topic maps and vice versa.
  • The validation operation checks if a Topic map conforms to the Topic Maps standard.
  • The export operation exports a Topic map to an XTM document that may be used in other Topic Maps applications.
  • The import operation is essentially the reverse of export – a CAM Topic map model is created from a Topic map defined in an XTM document.
  • The merge operation detects and merges any duplicate items in a Topic map.

Download and install the toolbox

(this description assumes you have downloaded and installed CAM and are familiar with the general principles of creating models in CAM)

Installing Topic Maps: Since the Topic Maps toolbox is not part of the standard CAM distribution, it must be installed manually:

  1. Download the zipped Topic Maps toolbox files and unzip to somewhere convenient (e.g. the desktop).
  2. Copy/move the "TopicMaps-Simple" and "TopicMaps-Strict" folder into the "palette" directory of your CAM installation.
  3. Copy/move the "tmaps-properties.jar" and "tmaps-core.jar" files into the "modules" directory of your CAM installation.
  4. Restart CAM - you should now be able to create workbooks of type "TopicMaps-Simple" and "TopicMaps-Strict"

Using the toolbox 

Open or create a Topic Maps model. To access the Topic Maps operations, under the Tools menu or on the top toolbar, use the menu items or toolbar buttons entitled:

  • Convert to simple Topic Map
  • Export Topic map to XTM
  • Import Topic map from XTM
  • Merge Topic map

More information

CAM Topic Maps toolbox user guide

Topic Maps for the Cambridge Advanced Modeller