I mentioned in my last post that one of my ongoing interests is topic mapping in weblogs. Topic Exchange and K-Collector are two initiatives that I've hyped a lot over the last year. However the blogosphere still doesn't have a mainstream topic-mapping application - and I mean mainstream as in Technorati or Bloglines, apps that are used by a large percentage of bloggers.

Seb Paquet recently re-opened the conversation on topic-mapping in blogs, and Rogers Cadenhead and Dave Winer have been talking about it, so it's on peoples minds. I'd like to suggest the following...

We need to meld the best features of Topic Exchange and K-Collector.

Topic Exchange and K-Collector each has its strengths. K-Collector has a great add-on for Radio Userland, which allows you to easily select relevant topics and add them to the community server. Topic Exchange requires you to send a trackback ping to its server for each topic, which makes it more open and extensible but also more effort for the blogger. Topic Exchange has a strong user community - it's like an open source project. K-Collector seems to be aiming at a corporate market and so that's where their development focus is I think. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it does mean I'm more emotionally attached to Topic Exchange these days.

So the two development efforts can learn from each other. For example, it'd be great if Topic Exchange can automate its ping process a bit more (I'll try and think more about this, so I can offer some potential solutions), and K-Collector can keep the blogosphere in the loop regarding its continued development (e.g. more updates, especially to the mailing list).

I wonder if it's worthwhile merging Topic Exchange and K-Collector? There is so much talent in each project, but perhaps topic mapping has its best chance of gaining mainstream acceptance if we work under one umbrella "project". What do you reckon, am I getting all hippie about this or is a combined project a viable solution?

Cross-posted to Topic Exchange and K-Collector