A fan of brilliance

How can the functionality of a content management system be represented? Ideally, by means of a neutral scale that can be integrated into any system and can clarify the handling of information. "PI Fan" is the name of a model that is suitable as a reference.

Intrinsic and extrinsic classes

In short, the following can be said about the PI classification: The term "PI" is derived from the dual view on modular content or respectively on the documents to be created. "P" includes the product information and "I" the information specification. Thus, each module is uniquely assigned a P and an I classification.

In technical jargon one speaks of "intrinsic classification", because it is an inner property of the module. Each modular content must therefore refer to exactly one of the product components ("engine", "heating", "complete device", ...) and may contain selectively only exactly one of the information classes predefined in the company ("maintenance", "repair", "functional description"). The information classes often cover the stages of the product lifecycle in large parts, but can be defined much more extensively depending on the information concept of a company.

Complexity affects metadata

The content life cycle metadata, such as versioning, and the language dimensions of content are not discussed here in detail. Other variant features will be discussed later as well, but are part of the PI classification. It finds widespread use in general mechanical and plant engineering, moreover in automotive engineering, energy technology and medical technology, but also in the software documentation of products with a component-based structure and modular software functions. The latter also give the metadata values ​​of the intrinsic P-classification.

Module is assigned classification

How are the modules assigned to the classifications and how do they form the 4 (document types) x 18 (fan types) = 72 documents? The first part of the question is answered with a planning matrix in Figure 3. The matrix assigns each module a combination of (intrinsic) PI classifications. Each module receives a unique number in the PI Fan example.

User receives comprehensive help

The PI fan can establish itself as a reference model for the basic functionalities of content management and is already implemented in well-known and widespread systems. The model should offer interested users the opportunity to make important use cases of the editorial activities, the variant management, the publication and the automation of different processes in the systems transparent on the basis of a manageable product example.

  • PI classification as a basis
  • Managed information becomes "intelligent"
    • Distinctly selectable
    • Situational use
    • Depending on configuration
    • Product-specific displayable

"The world of information should have intelligent fans." - Wolfgang Ziegler

More about the author: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ziegler