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Metadata? Thesauri? Taxonomies? Topic Maps! Making sense of it all

Thursday, January 1, 2004


To be faced with a document collection and not to be able to find the information you know exists somewhere within it is a problem as old as the existence of document collections. Information Architecture is the discipline dealing with the modern version of this problem: how to organize web sites so that users actually can find what they are looking for.

Information architects have so far applied known and well-tried tools from library science to solve this problem, and now topic maps are sailing up as another potential tool for information architects. This raises the question of how topic maps compare with the traditional solutions, and that is the question this paper attempts to address.

The paper argues that topic maps go beyond the traditional solutions in the sense that it provides a framework within which they can be represented as they are, but also extended in ways which significantly improve information retrieval.

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