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[topicmaps] Change the name?

During the end session, the moderator asked the panel why topic maps have not been catching on as quickly as they should. I suggested that one reason was that people think they’re graphical representations, when in fact they’re a data representation that can be displayed any way that makes sense.

I hit some resistance among the panelists, however. Some maintained that maps themselves are abstractions. Sure, but when you say you’re going to give someone a subway map, they expect a piece of paper with colored lines on it, not an abstract representation of the relationships among the stations.

If I were in the business of selling software that implements topic maps, I’d come up with another name, and at some point mention that underneath is an ISO standard called “topic maps.” Some people at the conference talk about “subject-centric computing,” which is still pretty techie but I find much less confusing than “topic maps.” [Tags: ]

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