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HomeRants > Goodbye documents, hello objects. > Modeling informative objects


How to build the model:

What is an informative object?

Define each object

Define entities and other alien creatures

Describe what you create--with metadata

Create a formal model

Join the enterprise-wide data model

Benefits of an object-oriented approach to content.

Modeling informative objects

Models formalize the structure of your content in guidelines, templates, and structured frameworks such as DTDs or schemas.---Ann Rockley, Managing Enterprise Content

You should wade into modeling, up to your hips. Informative objects are lively chunks of content, ready to be managed by your system, delivered to your customers.

Why bother to model your information?

  • To create guidelines for authors who create the information
  • To store the information in your repository
  • To assemble that information in various ways, through software, for multiple publications
  • To serve your customers, who want specific information found in an object, rather than a whole document, containing the info somewhere.
  • To customize information for groups
  • To allow individuals to personalize your content the way they like it.

You should catalog all the types of information that you have lying around--and any types that you realize you ought to create from this moment on.

You are not making a list of all the documents on the shelf. You are identifying the categories of information-the types.

Your aim: to define a standard structure for each type of information, described in formal terms, so that even a piece of software can locate the components, move through them, sort them, transform them, and deliver them in many formats.

You are defining the meaningful structure of a genre, such as a procedure, not the format. How the pieces are usually organized into wholes. What each piece does, not what it looks like. You are articulating a pattern.

Related articles:

A rhetoric of objects

Complexity theory as a way of understanding the Web

Structuring complex interactive information

Modeling information in electronic space

What kind of thing am I creating? (Full chapter from Hot Text, in PDF, 728K, or 12 minutes at 56K)

Editing the OO Way (in HTML or Word)



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