Category talk:Information Model

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The definition currently states: "A structured specification of the information requirements of a project. An information model expresses the classes of information required and the properties of those classes, including attributes, relationships and states."

My thoughts on this are: 1. It need not (should not) relate to a project, indeed, it should transcend projects and model the information needs of a particular community. 2. "Information" is what we try to share with one another. So an information model represents the agreement between each member of that community on how we will discuss those concepts and each of their instances. Doing so via an information model allows us to all to provide information systems that will 'fit in' with that community and provide data that is meaningful.

In my view, information is communicated, not stored. Therefore the focus of information models is about modelling the communications that occur, whether in writing, structured documents, computer screens, reports etc. we store data and retrieve it to assemble message for exchanging between systems and with people. When received by people (UI, document etc) it is internalised, and hopefully understood. It is this understanding that transforms data into information, the moment the data is given meaning by the reader. Our information models allow us to codify how data needs to be structured and to ensure a consistent understanding in the mids of the reader.

What follows is a proposal for the replacement of this definition. "An information model is a structured representation of the concepts and their relationships within the scope of a domain of interest. This can be a small, discrete domain such as a blood pressure, or much larger domain such as emergency medicine. An information model identifies, describes and defines the classes of information required and the properties of those classes, including attributes, relationships and states. The information model represents an agreement between members of a community on how the concepts within the domain of interest, and their instances, will be discussed within that community."