Oliveira, Alexandre Rocha: Deployment of Topic Maps for Navigation and Searching in Huge Information Spaces as Component of Learning Environment, Master Thesis, Universidade do Minho, Departamento de Sistemas de Informação 2000, pp. 83.

THEMES: Oliveira, Alexandre Rocha
YEAR: 2000

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This document was organized in order to give to the reader a complete overview about the developed
work, in the sense that he/she should learn the theoretical concepts first and then be aware of how the
concepts were applied, being presented meanwhile, some existing tools and examples related with Topic

Chapter 2 presents the general motivation. CORONET (Corporate Software Engineering Knowledge
Networks for Improved Training of the Work Force), a project with educational and training purposes,
constitutes the main motivation in the sense that this work will contribute for its development.

Introduction (chapter 3) opens the door for starting to understand the Topic Map concept.

In chapter 4, the topic maps model is explained in detail. For that, the history of it (Background) makes
possible to understand how and when this model was “born” and its evolution. Structuring unstructured
information sources and a comparison between Topic Maps and XML are the other sub-chapters that
precede the Standard Presentation, Some Missing points of the standard were identified and explained in
chapter 4.4.3.

The motivation for developing this work is an important point to focus because it shows how this model
fits to the actual needs of knowledge management and organization, and how it represents an evolution
of mapping knowledge structures and actual knowledge representation approaches. Besides this, Topic
Maps can be seen as a new Learning model and being this work integrated in the CORONET project, that
constitutes also a motivation. In chapter 5, all these points are focused in detail.

Chapter 6 is about implementations issues. Implementing Topic Maps involves different phases and they
are explained here. Some paradigms about Visualization precede the description of a new paradigm for
Topic Maps Visualization, based on them. This new visualization paradigm intends to create a new way
for visualize big information repositories.

The existing Topic Map tools and some others related ones are presented in chapter 7.

The examples of Topic Maps implementation available on the web appear in chapter 8. It was tried to
start with the simplest example and then show the evolution attending to the navigational features and
organization of the displayed information. One example of a meaning-based search engine is also
presented. Although it isn’t based on Topic Maps, it is an example of how future search engines based on
Topic Maps could work.

The analysis of a real scenario for application of the Topic Maps model on it is the focus of Chapter 9,
together with a Topic Maps application architecture proposal. A small demo shows how this new concept
can be applied in a real implementation scenario. Not all the features of the concept were explored but
the aim was just to create a demo for starting to identify some implementation problems that might occur
as well as to start thinking and visualizing how this concept could fit in the CORONET project.

Chapter 10 is about the outlook of Topic Maps. Some questions with no answer yet and some future
developments proposals are found here.

Conclusions, Glossary, Resources and Annexes are the following and final chapters.