A reflection on ideas that never quite made it.
KM has always been about access to information in some form (for learning, awareness, problem solving, decision making....). Topic maps seem to be a useful, intuitive representation and standard with great potential for arrangement, organization, showing, relationships, search and navigation. There are obvious and immediate advantages for learning, search, improving understanding, mapping and synthesis.
As far as I'm aware the major software tools are all European and topic maps has gained little traction here in US. Discussions around topic maps quickly turn to code and standards and there are few texts covering the basic ideas and explaining their utility IMO.
Topic map links from Dmoz.org will help to locate the web literature. Steve Pepper's tao paper is perhaps the best entry point.
Somehow topic maps just have not caught fire, could it be the expensive software?, poor promotion?, slow social adoption?, lack of clear demos?, technology focus?, or just an idea whose time has not yet arrived
It seems that KM has failed to pay sufficient attention to the very basic practices needed to lift collective thinking and to the inherent social nature of knowledge itself. Sure we examined AARs, lessons learned, PKM, peer assists, knowledge cafe's, virtual exchanges & forums - but have we really explored patterns, distinctions, narrative, collaborative writing, core documents, mentorship, creative abrasion and tacit exchanges to the depth they deserve?
My impression is we have neglected sense-making, intuition, deep dialog and the role of shared understandings in our rush to build grand KM frameworks, expound self-serving KM models, advocate half-baked standards and promulgate certification.
What think you??