Main Index
Pepys Diary Topic Map
What Is This ?

This collection of web pages is an HTML representation of a topic map created from the diary of Samuel Pepys. A topic map consists of a number of topics each of which represents something of interest found in the diary. Each topic can have any number of relationships to any number of other topics, so building an interconnected web of topics. Topics can also have names and information resources associated with them which provide the topic map browser with more information about a subject.

Why Are You Doing This ?

Expressing the Pepys diary as a topic map provides an interesting non-linear way of looking at the diaries. If you are interested in a particular person or place, simply click on the link to that topic and you will find references to all of topics related to it. In this topic map, every event described by Pepys in his diary is a topic in its own right, this enables you to quickly find, for example all of the references to a place such as The Dolphin Tavern simply by clicking on it (try it now - we'll be waiting for you when you hit the 'Back' button to get back here).

Additionally because a topic map can be processed by a machine, there is scope for doing queries that could answer questions like "Exactly how many venison pasties did Sam consume?" or "On what occassions did person X meet person Y?". At the moment, this site does not offer any interactive query capabilities, but perhaps in the future it will...

Finally, by creating a topic map where the people, places, events and institutions of Restoration London are described we are also creating a series of identifiers for these subjects in the hope that any future work on expressing information about London, the Stuart dynasty, or 17th century culture will make use of them. Topic maps are designed to be combined using these identifiers to indicate when two topics are "about" the same thing. This would enable others to create their own topic maps that would seamlessly combine with the Pepys Diary topic map.

How Are You Publishing The Topic Map ?

The topic map is being created and uploaded one entry at a time, usually posted the day after the same entry has made an appearance on the PepysDiary site. Each entry is actually recorded in its own topic map file (remember, topic maps can be combined, so we make extensive use of this feature to split the work up into manageable chunks). The topic maps themselves are created by hand and each entry is accompanied by a blog entry describing what was created in the topic map and why. Each entry's blog also contains links to the individual topic map files that you can view online or download for your own use.

Although the standard interchange format for topic maps uses XML, we find it easier to write the topic maps using a non-standard text notation called LTM, so to view the daily updates you will need a topic map browser application capable of processing LTM. For this you can use either the free Omnigator application from Ontopia or the open-source TM4Web/Velocity application. However, BE WARNED, both of these applications require a Java SDK and a bit of mucking about to install and get running, so its not a plug-and-play option yet.

Once a month we create a single XML file that uses the standard XTM interchange syntax for topic maps. That file can be found here.

Can I Help ?

Yes, please!

We would welcome the following kinds of assistance:

If you have information or time to volunteer please contact Kal. Put the word PepysMap in the subject so that I spot it in amongst all the spam ;-).