XML Topic Maps (XTM) at TopicMaps.Org

About TopicMaps.Org

top An Independent Consortium Operating For Public Benefit

Topicmaps.Org is an independent consortium of parties interested in developing the applicability of the Topic Maps Paradigm (first fully described in the ISO/IEC 13250:2000 "Topic Maps" standard [ISO13250], which is SGML and HyTime-based) to the World Wide Web, which is expected to become increasingly XML-based. This work includes the development of an XML grammar for interchanging Web-based Topic Maps, called the XTM Specification, now being written by the Topicmaps.Org Authoring Group (the "AG"). The 1.0 version of the XTM Specification [XTM1] is expected to be published on the Topicmaps.Org web site in December, 2000. All versions of the XTM Specification will be permanently licensed to the public.

top Working in the Sunshine

Topicmaps.Org works in the sunshine. The work of Topicmaps.Org, including all of its technically-substantive internal documents and communications, are available at this website for public scrutiny. Anyone can be on the internal e-mailing list(s), thus to receive internal communications just as the Participating Members do.

top The Geeks are In Charge

In addition to its technical responsibilities, the AG functions as the executive council of, and has general authority over, all TopicMaps.Org activities. The AG has drafted and adopted its own TopicMaps.Org Charter and By-Laws, meets when and where it sees fit, at its sole discretion (although so far only in Europe and North America, and so far no more often than monthly).

The AG's authoring and executive activities are entirely and directly funded by the members of the AG, including the cost of meeting space, except when such meeting space is donated by one or more sponsoring organizations.

top How to Become a Participating Member

Those interested in joining the AG must arrange to be sponsored by an existing Participating Member, who in turn must arrange for a formal vote of the AG on the question of whether an invitation will be made. Invited Guests normally become Participating (i.e., voting) Members after two meetings. Participating Members are expected to attend all face-to-face meetings, and they lose their voting privileges if they miss two consecutive meetings.


The AG has delegated considerable authority for the promulgation of the XTM Specification to its Marketing Subgroup. Through the efforts of the Marketing Subgroup, sponsors of the XTM Specification are welcome, and licenses in certain marketing-oriented intellectual property (logos, etc.) and other emoluments are being made available to sponsors. Sponsors do not have to be Participating Members, or be represented by Participating Members, and Participating Members do not have to be Sponsors. IDEAlliance (formerly known as the GCA Research Institute) is the founding sponsor of Topicmaps.Org and of all of the predecessor groups and activities, starting in 1993 when the the Topic Maps paradigm was first conceived. IDEAlliance is currently serving as the Host Organization and, in partial fulfillment of that role, it is providing marketing coordination services.