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“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb
Welcome to the Patterns of Information Management community!
This community is focused on our book of the same name, available through IBM Press at: InformIT.com
From an introductory standpoint, we thought it would be useful to give a brief background on both of us so that you have some understanding of our information management journeys. We also want to provide some insight into why we've approached information management from this pattern based perspective and what we hope to achieve in this community.
Mandy Chessell is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor. Her current role is the Chief Architect for InfoSphere Solutions in IBM's Software Group where she leads the design of common information management patterns for different industries and solutions. In earlier roles Mandy led the development of new features for the CICS, Encina, TxSeries and WebSphere products.
Harald Smith is currently a Software Architect specializing in Information Quality and Integration in IBM's Information Management division, but his career has journeyed through business process, application development, system auditing, packaged application implementation, consulting services, and solution architecture across multiple industries, as well as software product management. He's coupled this diverse background with a lifelong interest in history, games and game theory, and patterns and complexity across biological, computer, and social science to look for new and innovative ways to use and manage information. His writings focus on the practical application of software products to address common organizational challenges.
We've both worked in and around the Information Management domain for a long time and have seen a number of common goals and challenges. Whether it is providing appropriate views of information at the right time, right place, and formatted for an individual’s needs; or enforcing common standards for data semantics, structures, or quality; or measuring, monitoring, and protecting information, we hear a common underlying question: "How do I do this?".
Consulting practices, software products, and many, many books (including ours) focus on this question. We've approached this from a pattern perspective because we feel there are a number of advantages to do so:
- Patterns are written in a natural language.
- They assimilate a wide range of information together around common problems.
- They define choices and how to make them – both pros and cons.
- They include worked examples and references to known uses.
- They link together into a comprehensive description of topic area.
- They work at multiple levels of abstraction – from high-level information solutions and supply chains to low-level information structures
- And they identify the emergent properties of using a particular solution.
A pattern language is well suited to explain the choices, trade-offs and resulting benefits and liabilities each design choice brings. They also help to cross the gap between the multiple 'competing' technologies and tools that exist in the Information Management space.
In establishing this community site, we've tried to focus on a couple of key notes:
First, we believe that the best way to engage on common challenges in information management is to talk directly with others engaged in the same issues. This community is intended as a forum for active discussion of the patterns we've identified and how they can be utilized. While we've drawn on our own and our colleagues' experience and background in information management in putting the patterns together, there are always additional experiences that can help inform use of the patterns, whether identifying additional forces at work, choosing when to use one pattern over another, etc.
Second, there are other patterns beyond the ones detailed in the book. In some cases, due to space constraints we have only briefly highlighted certain patterns -- what we term 'patlets'. In other cases, such as in Information Solutions, there are many more examples of how patterns can be assembled -- some are well known, some are just emerging, and others will evolve as technologies and capabilities evolve. We encourage you to help us identify, discuss, and refine these.
So, again, welcome and please feel free to share your questions, comments, and thoughts with us!
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