Jack Park, VP of ThinkAlong Software, gave KMi an introduction to the Topic Map technology and standard, and then contextualised it to classroom technology experiments in which he is engaged.
Park, a research partner with Doug Engelbart, has been heavily involved in the ISO Topic Map standard, and its translation to XML that has produced the .XTM format. He explained how Topic Maps offer a way to do concept mapping over the Net, providing an abstract layer that can be used to summarise web resources from different perspectives. He then demo’d the Nexist prototype Java tool, that translates a combination of the Toulmin and Issue-Based Information System (IBIS) notations into .XTM format, and outlined plans to help school students build topic maps of problems, and debate arguments over the Net.
Park’s seminar was part of a week-long visit to KMi, hosted by Simon Buckingham Shum, who has closely related interests in dialogue mapping through the Compendium technique.