A topic map is a standard for the representation and interchange of knowledge, with an emphasis on the findability of information. Topic maps were originally developed in the late 1990s as a way to represent back-of-the-book index structures so that multiple indexes from different sources could be merged.

Topic maps are similar to concept maps and mind maps in many respects, though only topic maps are ISO standards. The ISO standard for the topic map is known as ISO/IEC 13250:2003. Topic maps are also a form of semantic web technology similar to RDF.

Representation of knowledge consisting of a graph of:

  • The topic represents any concept, from people, countries, and organizations to software modules, individual files, and events
  • Association represents the relationships between topics
  • Occurrence represents relationships between topics and information resources relevant to them

People typically use diagram legend inline in the diagram to illustrate the three elements of the topic map.

Topic map example

Edit this Topic Map Example