Rethinking TopicMaps.Org
08:57, 24 Apr 2001 UTC | Edd Dumbill

Steve Pepper, co-editor of the XML Topic Maps specification, has opened up discussion on the future of TopicMaps.Org, the organization behind XTM.

The XTM group, until recently hosted by IDEAlliance, is on a lookout for a new home, and a new sense of purpose. The drive to produce the XTM 1.0 specification ended in a split for the Topic Maps community, with long-time stalwarts Michel Biezunski and Steve Newcombe departing to continue their work at

Pepper proposed a new organization to assume ownership of the XTM specification. He saw three alternatives:

(1) TM.Org could reinvent itself
(2) We could create a new organization
(3) We could join an existing organization

Whichever route we choose, the first prerequisite is that it should have the backing of the whole community. I am currently tending towards alternative (3) as being the most realistic. OASIS has been mentioned as a possibility; there may be others.

The idea of hosting with OASIS seemed to draw support from the members of the XTM mailing list. Adrian Rivers strongly supported such an approach:

I want XTM to be seen by users and vendors as a standard that has substantial and long-term support. Surely this is much more likely if XTM was under the auspices of an established and respected standards body.

Jim Mason proposed that membership of the International SGML Users Group, and hence involvement in ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34, might be a way forward. However, Murray Altheim saw the web community as a primary audience for XTM and thought OASIS or W3C a more useful body.

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