Ben Hammersley.com: More on Emergent Taxonomies: “So, with an Emergent Taxonomy you start off with the entry itself, and relate other entries to it – and you *don’t*give*the*category*a*name*that*influences*it. How you relate the entries can be anything – from linking to it, to referencing it with a trackback to encoding an xlink or rdf data that adds additional flavours of relationship. But either way, it’s just a one-on-one relationship between entries. And then, you just treat it like a social network, where the clusters are where the topics get more dense, and more defined. ”
Good thinking. Names (terms) are indeed limiting, that’s why we need so many controlled vocabularies and such. However, categories are how we think (see anything by Lakoff), which is why the topic approach makes sense: a topic can have many names (or terms), but it still is the same topic. I think the whole XTM topic concept (as copied in XFML) is still limited (in that it assumes topics as the atomic unit, where categories might be better), but they aren’t limited by names so much.