From the foreword to the first edition:
This book teaches the principles of Icon in a very task-oriented fashion. Someone commented that if you say “Pass the salt” in correct French in an American university you get an A. If you do the same thing in France you get the salt. There is an attempt to apply this thinking here. The emphasis is on projects which might interest the student of texts and language, and Icon features are instilled incidentally to this. Actual programs are exemplified and analyzed, since by imitation students can come to devise their own projects and programs to fulfill them. A number of the illustrations come naturally enough from the field of Stylistics which is particularly apt for computerized approaches.
I can’t say that the success of ICON is a recommendation for task-oriented teaching but as I recall the first edition, I thought it was effective.
Data mining of texts is an important skill in the construction of topic maps.
This is a very good introduction to that subject.