One thing always leads to another … and new ideas.
One of the e-newsletters I subscribe to is the Pascal Newsletter which always has great articles and ideas for Delphi programmers. It has been a year since their last issue, and it’s nice that they’ve started it up again.
This issue had a link to an article that really caught my attention: XML Topic Maps - by Craig Murphy, which discusses how XML topic maps provide a mechanism to intelligently classify information, and how to implement topic maps in your apps. That article then links to The Tao of Topic Maps, which is subtitled: “Finding the Way in the Age of Infoglut”.
Now I’ve followed all the different attempts to make GEDCOM more useful, to include assertions, assumptions, evidence and proofs. Many of these also change GEDCOM to an XML base. They include the LDS GEDCOM Standard Future Direction (1998), the LDS GEDCOM XML 6.0 (2001, 2002), CommSoft’s Event GEDCOM (1994), GENTECH’s Genealogical Data Model (2000), Tom Wetmore’s DeadEnds Data Model (2000), Terry Fitzpatrick’s GeniML (2002) and his Transcription Notation (2004), and several other sources as well. All were attempts by Genealogists to add reasoning into Genealogy data. None ever took hold, and I doubt if there will ever be agreement as to which way is the best.
But this idea of Topic Maps may provide a link betwen them all. It was not developed for Genealogy, but it was developed to enhance indexing. It is a metadata describing the data. Lot’s of possibilites here.
The other neat thing about Topic Maps is that it is an XML solution. The only XML solution that has even started to take hold (after Microsoft’s two year attempt to get people to use XML) seems to be RSS/Atom Newsfeeds and their XML implementation. Topic Maps have the possibility of being the next big thing in XML.
As for Behold, I do hope to include the capability to read and write all the various flavors of XML with all their enhancements. I’ve made Behold general enough to handle any construct from any form of GEDCOM or GEDCOM-related XML’s, so it is not out of the question. Right now there is no demand for this, but somehow some new technologies seem to catch on - just because they’re new. So we’ll have to see.