Ontopia: The Topic Map Company

XTM comes of age!

Press release from TopicMaps.Org:

TopicMaps.Org is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Pepper and Graham Moore as editorial chairmen for XTM, the XML Topic Map specification. They take over from Steve Newcomb and Michel Biezunski, who have led the XTM work since January 2000.

The change is seen as an indication of the maturity of the topic map paradigm, which has achieved wide recognition during the past twelve months as a potential enabling technology for the Semantic Web.

The concept of topic maps was first formalised as an international standard (ISO 13250) in January 2000. It describes a model for representing the knowledge structures found in information resources, with the goal of enabling easier and more powerful navigation, searching, and information management. TopicMaps.Org is an independent consortium of parties that seeks to enhance the applicability of topic mapping to the World Wide Web by leveraging the XML family of specifications. XTM, which is now in the process of finalisation, will be the first specification to come from this unit.

One symptom of the speed of XTM take-up has been the opening of discussions with the W3C's RDF team. Tim Berners Lee stated at the recent XML 2000 conference in Washington that convergence of topic maps and RDF is a crucial part of making the Semantic Web project happen.

"Topic mapping and RDF address the same problem - that of findability in the Age of Infoglut - but come at it from different angles. Our goal as editors will be to finalise XTM as soon as possible and then move on to a rapid harmonisation with RDF," said Steve Pepper. "Public support from the W3C will accelerate the adoption of XTM as a mainstream technology, by software vendors as well as users, providing benefits for all of us."

"Bringing Graham and Steve in as the new editors reflects the stage that XTM is now at: We needed to streamline and prioritise our workload, the better to accelerate the pace of adoption in the web community," said Steve Newcomb, the outgoing co-chair of the XTM editorial team. "Michel and I are happy that they have picked up the baton. We are confident that they will successfully bring XTM through the final stages of delivery to the market place."

Steve Newcomb and Michel Biezunski have been the undisputed "Mister and Monsieur" (respectively) of topic mapping since its inception almost a decade ago. TopicMaps.Org would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for the enormity of their contribution over the years. "Steve and Michel really deserve the credit for XTM. Without them, it would not be what it is today. We are looking forward to their continued support as we prepare to release the complete specification in the next few weeks."

For more information, please contact:

Jason Markos (jsm@empolis.co.uk)
Marketing Chair for TopicMaps.Org


Steve Pepper (pepper@ontopia.net) is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Ontopia
Graham Moore (gdm@empolis.co.uk) is Vice President of Research and Development at Empolis