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Beyond Schemas: Planning Your XML Model by Jennifer Thompson

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Information Types

Information typing is the process of discovering consistent and standard structures in your information deliverables. Information types are typically standalone pieces of information to which you can apply a standard structure. You can think of these as templates used every time you need to create a particular piece of information. Consider a user guide: as you analyze the guide, you may find particular pieces of information that help to answer your user's questions. For example, suppose a user is looking for the answer to questions such as "How do I complete this task?" Or, "What does this term mean?" They may even be asking "What does this feature do?" In order to adequately represent and answer each question, you must create your information using a standard structure so your users can consistently find the answers to their questions.

In a typical organization, information types you work with may include parts of manuals, quick reference cards, log files, web pages, and more. In your personal life, however, you may reference different kinds of information. Perhaps you use a recipe to cook dinner, or a manual for a cell phone or a camera, or a travel web site to arrange your next vacation. Setting up your information types to follow a standard structure (i.e., a standard template), is the basis of your information model. Each piece of information you create should be consistent from one to another. If you lack consistency in what you create or view, the possibility ...

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