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2Pepper, S. ; Groenmo, G.O.: Towards a general theory of scope.
Abstract: This paper is concerned with the issue of scope in topic maps. Topic maps are a form of knowledge representation suitable for solving a number of complex problems in the area of information management, ranging from findability (navigation and querying) to knowledge management and enterprise application integration (EAI). The topic map paradigm has its roots in efforts to understand the essential semantics of back-of-book indexes in order that they might be captured in a form suitable for computer processing. Once understood, the model of a back-of-book index was generalised in order to cover the needs of digital information, and extended to encompass glossaries and thesauri, as well as indexes. The resulting core model, of typed topics, associations, and occurrences, has many similarities with the semantic networks developed by the artificial intelligence community for representing knowledge structures. One key requirement of topic maps from the earliest days was to be able to merge indexes from disparate origins. This requirement accounts for two further concepts that greatly enhance the power of topic maps: subject identity and scope. This paper concentrates on scope, but also includes a brief discussion of the feature known as the topic naming constraint, with which it is closely related. It is based on the authors' experience in creating topic maps (in particular, the Italian Opera Topic Map, and in implementing processing systems for topic maps (in particular, the Ontopia Topic Map Engine and Navigator.