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This page lists the key terms defined in IABoK in alphabetical order.

Symbol | Num | a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z


DAMA Body of Knowledge: Alias for DMBoK


4 Schema Model: Alias for ANSI Four Schema Model

6 Hats: Alias for De Bonos Hats

6 Sigma: Alias for Six Sigma

7 facets of user experience: Alias for User Honeycomb


Abstract: Expressing characteristics separately from any concrete examples. Defining the common features independent of specific instances

Access Control: Alias for Entitlement

Accessibility: How easy it is to obtain information that has been located


ACID Model: A set of properties of database transactions that guarantee reliable processing. This topic is more relivent to the implementaion and not usually a concern of the Information Architect

Activity Diagram: Alias for UML Activity Diagram

Actor: A person or system that interacts with the system being described

Adam Smith's Pin Factory: Alias for Pin Factory

AI: Artificial Intelligence

Alphabetical: Ordering that focuses on the labels attached to elements and hence simplifies the action of looking up information but often does little to help comprehension. Good for reference data but a narrative, hierarchical or schematic order is usually a better way to introduce a topic.

Alphanumeric: A character that is either a letter ('a' to 'z') or a number ('0' to '9')

American National Standards Institute: A private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards in the United States and coordinates US standards with international standards

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

ANSI Four Schema Model: A description of the four main types of data model originally created by ANSI in the 1970s

Application: Alias for Application Software

Application Software: A piece of computer software designed to deliver functionality to the user. In contrast to system software

Architect: A practitioner that mediates between conflicting concerns to create a complete design of a complex system by ensuring consistency between various specialised views

Architecture: The process of creating a complete design by generating a complete set of consistent renditions each tailored to the needs of a specialised group of implementers

Arms Race: Alias for Red Queen Situation

Artificial Intelligence: The effort to create systems that exhibit apparent intelligence

ASCII: A character-encoding scheme based on the ordering of the English alphabet

AsIs: The situtaion as it currently exists without any attempt to address the issues. In contrast to the ToBe state.

Aspect: A critical element within the selected domain

Assembly Line: Alias for Pin Factory

Assessment: The process of documenting a situation, usually in order to describe the requirements of a solution

Attribute: A piece of data associated with either a specific object or class


Backup: A duplicate of data that is kept in a seperate location to facilitate recovery if any system fails.

Backward Chaining: Using the desired result to work out what to do next, especially in inference

Balance Triangle: A diagram that shows the possible combinations of three components that contribute to a system. For example the balance between investment in implementation, maintainance and running costs

BCG matrix: Alias for Boston Matrix

Behaviour Diagrams: Alias for UML Behaviour Diagrams

Bell Curve: Alias for Probability Distribution

Best Practice: A Best practice is a technique, that is believed to be the most effective at delivering a particular outcome of all the currently employed techniques

BI: Business Intelligence

Blackboard: A situation where a variety of processes share a common set of data

Blue Sky: A speculation about how a situation could finally end up. The ultimate solution to an issue that ignores constraints of implementation cost, resource availability and current technical abilities.

Body of Knowledge: A collection of knowledge about a particular discipline, intended to represent the majority of understanding that a practitioner employs

BoK: Body of Knowledge

Boolean Logic: A system of logical operations named after George Boole.

Boston Chart: Alias for Boston Matrix

Boston Matrix: Originally a chart created by the Boston Consulting Groupto help corporations with analyzing their business units or product lines. The name is now used to indicate a type of 2x2 matrix used to illuminate business decisions

Bottom Up: Defining a system by starting with an understanding of the details and then working out how these components combine

Boxes & Arrows: A disparaging description of the types of diagrams that Information Architects create

Brainstorming: A process during which new ideas and discussions are generated

Building Web Sites: The activities involved in constructing effective web sites

Business Case: A business case captures the reasoning for initiating a project or task. A statement of the costs and anticipated benefits that demonstrates the reason for taking a particular action

Business Decision: A Business thrives or collapses based on the decisions that it makes. In an ideal world the evidence for a decision is collected, the appropriate set of participants reviews and an agreement is reached, which in turn influences the state of the business and hence future decisions

Business Intelligence: Summary historical, current, and predictive views of business operations

Business Process: The procedures carried out by the users within a business


Capability Maturity Model: A description of actual practice within an organisation that suggests which capabilities should be improved first

Card Sorting: An exercise in which a group of users generate a category tree or folksonomy

Cardboard Programmer: Often when explaining a complex issue to another person the very act of formulating a question will lead one to the answer. In Software Development this is called the "Cardboard Programmer" technique, since you don't actually need a real person to explain to, a cardboard cut-out would, in theory, be sufficient

Cardinality: The numerical relationship between elements, usually defined in broad terms as zero, one or many

Category: Alias for Data Type

Chaos Theory: A branch of mathematics that studies the behaviour of dynamic systems

Check List: Alias for Checklist

Checklist: A list of items to be checked at key stages of a procedure

Class: An abstraction of a concept or group of things that describes the state and behaviour that all examples share. Similar to a data type

Class Diagram: Alias for UML Class Diagram

Classification: The procedure in which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated and understood

Client: Alias for Owner

CMM: Alias for Capability Maturity Model

Comma Seperated Values: A format that defines values seperated by commas. A commonly used, and widely misused file type

Communication Diagram: Alias for UML Communication Diagram

Complete Product: Any product has a number of different descriptions depending on who is asked, this idea lists the key definitions and the consequences of the differences.

Complexity: A measure of how complicated a situation is. Can only really be discussed in relation to the model being used and the goal of the modelling process

Component Diagram: Alias for UML Component Diagram

Composite Structure Diagram: Alias for UML Composite Structure Diagram

CompSci: Alias for Computer Science

Computer Science: The study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation, and of practical techniques for their implementation and application

Concept: Alias for Aspect

Concept Map: a simple diagram showing the relationships among concepts

Conceptual Schema: A consistent, but usually incomplete, consolidation of data model requirements. A data model that consolidates the inconsistent views in the External Schemas but has not yet achieved the completeness required of a Logical Data Model

Congress Classification: Alias for Library of Congress Classification

Consistency: This measure of Data Quality reflects the degree of self agreement the data has

Content: Alias for Information Content

Content Management System: An application used to manage the creation, editing, indexing and searching of various kinds of digital media and text

Context: The set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, or system.

Conversations With Trees: Alias for Cardboard Programmer

Correctness: A measure of how closely data matches reality. This is the most difficult measure of Data Quality to validate.

Cost Balance: When implementing any system costs must be justified by the benefit they achieve. This means that investing too much in any one aspect of a project is wasted effort, so the costs must be balanced

Coverage: A measure of how completely a classification scheme encompasses all the possible values

Crawling: Alias for Web Crawler

Critical System Design: The design of systems that have a high price of failure. This emphasises the importance of correct design to reduce the risks associated with failure

CS: Computer Science

CSD: Critical System Design

CSV: Comma Seperated Values

Cutter Classification System: A classification system used in some US libraries


DAMA: An organisation of data managers that promote and document the profession

Data: Alias for KID

Data Category: The critical information can usually be divided into groups of related elements. Each category will usually encompass many data types

Data Consumer: A person that uses the data without editing, correcting or modifying it

Data Convention: The conventions applied to data within a given location

Data Definition Language: A computer language for defining data structures used by Oracle

Data Editor: The person that validates, creates and edits the data

Data Exchange: Alias for Data Migration

Data Footprint: The range of different data categories that a system deals with

Data Form: A complete description of the way that a piece of data is held, including clarification of the physical media, encoding, format, structure, reference integrity and conventions

Data Management: The development and execution of architectures, policies, practices and procedures that properly manage the full data lifecycle needs of an enterprise

Data Management International: Alias for DAMA

Data Migration: The process of moving data from its current location, typically requiring transformation to allow it to be used in the target system

Data Model: A data model formally defines the data elements and the relationships between them for a domain of interest A data model describes how data is represented and accessed.

Data Model Categories: Alias for ANSI Four Schema Model

Data Modeling Language: A textual or schematic language used to describe elements of a data model

Data Modelling: Alias for Data Model

Data Owner: The person that approves data before it is published for the eventual audience

Data Quality: A measure of how fit a set of data is for its intended use. An ambiguous term that refers to a number of different measures.

Data Repository: A database, logical or physical location where data resides.

Data Rot: During the lifetime of a system definitions will be stretched and new data will be introduced. These changes often make the resulting data less consistent and complete, this is commonly known as "data rot"

Data Steward: The person that holds the data, responsible for supplying exactly the data that was registered (without any concern about the data's actual correctness)

Data Type: A well defined class of data. Usually the available attributes are described in a data model

Database: A collection of data usually in digital form and with a defined structure

DDC: Dewey Decimal System

De Bonos Hats: A technique to explore ideas by consciously focusing of different aspects of the overall concept

Decision: Alias for Business Decision

Decision Support System: Alias for Business Intelligence

Decision Tree: An analysis technique that uses a tree of possible outcomes to measure the potential value of different decisions

Define: The first stage of any interaction with a client during which their needs are documented

Deployment Diagram: Alias for UML Deployment Diagram

Dewey Decimal Classification: Alias for Dewey Decimal System

Dewey Decimal System: An ordered classification of all books commonly used in libraries

Diagram: A picture showing information in a schematic form

Dictionary: A collection of words in a specific language, often listed alphabetically, with definitions and other information

Digital: An artifact that is described in computer bits, in contrast to a physical object

Directory: A listing of items in a single location. In computing this normally provides a container in which files and other directories can be organised.

Discipline: An area of study, for example Information Architecture or Data Management


Do Nothing Option: Alias for AsIs

Document: A physical or digital representation of a text focused artifact

Domain: A related set of topics that share a common approach

Dynamic Elements: Alias for System Behaviour


EA: Enterprise Architecture

Efficient: A measure of the effort to achieve a particular result, often in comparison to the minimal effort required

Electronic Mail: Alias for eMail

eMail: a method of exchanging digital messages, designed primarily for human use

Empirical: Information gained by means of observation, experience, or experiment.

Encoding: A code that pairs a sequence of characters from a given character set with something else, such as a sequence of numbers

Engagement Stage: A simplified view of the stages that every engagment must pass through: Define, Assess, Implementation and Review

Enterprise Architecture: The documents and diagrams that describe the structure of a business, the methods and techniques that are employed to create and maintain such material

Entitlement: The level of access that should be delivered by agreement through law, for example the user may have the right to access a database due to a license agreement

Entity: Something that has a distinct, separate existence, though it need not be a material existence

Equivalent: Alias for One to One

Executive: The branch of a corporation or government that is responsible for defining policy and setting direction

Expert Systems: Alias for Knowledge Based Systems

Extended Markup Language: Alias for XML

External Schemas: A data model that is a collection of inconsistent requirements from individual stakeholders


Facets of User Experience: Alias for User Honeycomb

Facilitator: A person that is responsible for the logistical aspects of a process. For example a workshop facilitator will arrange a room, define the agenda and often keep track of time during the meeting

Feasibility: A measure of whether the situation described is possible within known constraints

Field: Alias for Domain

Findability: How easy it is to navigate to the appropriate piece of information

Fixed Cost: Business expenses that are not dependent on the level of activity of the business

Folksonomy: A classification scheme created by collective action, often created and managed using web technologies

Footprint: Alias for Data Footprint

Format: A format defines how entities and attributes are to be described.

Forward Chaining: Building from what is known in the hope it will lead to the desired inference

Four Schema Model: Alias for ANSI Four Schema Model


Game Theory: A branch of mathematics that considers the interactions of dynamic systems. A rich source of metaphors for describing simple models of behaviour

Gathering Data: The practice of obtaining input from Subject Matter Experts about the domain under discussion. This can be to help any element of the Information Architecture from defining the key aspects, populating the model, validating the existing definitions to reviewing the resulting system

Gaussian Distribution: Alias for Probability Distribution

Glossary: Alias for Dictionary

Goal: A projected state of affairs that a person or a system plans or intends to achieve

Goal State: Alias for ToBe


Hardware: The physical elements of a system, in contrast to software

HCI: Alias for User Interface

Hierarchical: A form of classification in which the terms form a nested set of relationships

Horizon of Concern: The period of time that a particular person is focused on, a technician might be worried about events over the next hour, a professional could be concerned with next month's events, however a Chief Executive must also be concerned about the next decade. In general the more senior the role the further ahead the vision

HSB: Alias for HSV Colour Space

HSI: Alias for HSV Colour Space

HSL: Alias for HSV Colour Space

HSV Colour Space: A description of colours in terms of their Hue, Saturation and Value. Because this better matches to the way the human eye works it is a better choice when defining colours for a diagram

HTTP: Alias for Web

Human Computer Interface: Alias for User Interface


IA Best Practice: The set of steps that should be carried out to create an Information Architecture

IA Data Gathering: Alias for Gathering Data

IA Picture: Alias for IA Rendition

IA Rendition: A schematic representation of some aspect of the information architecture of a system

IA Theory: Alias for Theory

IABoK: Information Architecture Body of Knowledge

Identifier: A unique key used to distinguish between the various items in a class

IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force

Implementation: The processes of developing and deploying the products and services being discussed

Inference: Using existing values and relationships to deduce the implications

Inference Engine: Alias for Knowledge Based Systems

Information: Alias for KID

Information Architect: A practitioner of Information Architecture

Information Architecture: The expression of the model of information within a given domain, or the practice of creating and managing such a model

Information Architecture Body of Knowledge: A collection of knowledge about the discipline of Information Architecture. This web site

Information Behaviour: Alias for System Behaviour

Information Content: The data held in a system

Information Management: Alias for Data Management

Information Theory: A branch of applied mathematics involving the quantification of information

Information Triad: A collective name for the three concepts of Content, and Context the user.

Information technology: The implementation and support of computer-based information systems, the practical aspects of day-to-day management in contrast to, for example Computer Science.

Infrastructure: The various system elements such as servers, networks and storage.

Initail State: Alias for AsIs

Instance: A particular created example of a class, a thing of a given type

Interaction Diagrams: Alias for UML Interaction Diagrams

Interaction Overview Diagram: Alias for UML Interaction Overview Diagram

Internet: A global system of interconnected computer networks that have adopted various RFC standards

Internet Engineering Task Force: A group that develops and promotes Internet standards through the publication of Request for Comments documents.

Interview: A gathering of interested parties that works towards answering a defined set of questions

ISO 10918-1: Alias for jpeg

IT: Information technology


Joint Photographic Experts Group: Alias for jpeg

jpeg: A commonly used data form for compressed photographic images


K-Map: Alias for Karnaugh Map

Karnaugh Map: A diagram that documents the way a digital circuit behaves

KBS: Knowledge Based Systems

Key Performance Indicator: A metric of the business that is used to help estimate the level of performance

KID: The combined set of knowledge, information and data

Killer App: A piece of software that is so valuable that consumers purchase the associated hardware just to be able to run it

Killer Application: Alias for Killer App

Knowledge: Theoretical or practical understanding of a subject

Knowledge Based Systems: Systems that combine a data repository (often in this context called a "knowledge base") and inference mechanisms to deliver results that appeared to demonstrate artificial intelligence

KPI: Key Performance Indicator


Label: Alias for Identifier

Law of diminishing returns: The observation that the marginal contribution of a factor of production usually decreases as more of the factor is used

LCC: Library of Congress Classification

Learning Curve: The fact that performing an action for the 1,000th time will cost less than doing it for the first time

Library Science: the study of the optimal way to organise libraries and other information resources

Library System: a system of coding and organizing library materials according to their subject

Library of Congress Classification: A classification system used in the Library of Congress and other US libraries

Linguistics: The study of natural language

Logical: Elements of a system that follow a formal set of principles and are not physical

Logical Data Model: A consistent and complete data model description that is independent of any particular implementation

Logical Model: Alias for Logical Data Model


Maintainance: The process of adjusting a system to enable it to function in a changed environment or to incrementally expand the supported functionality

Man-Machine Interface: Alias for User Interface

Mandatory Attribute: An attribute that must be present

Many to Many: The most complex type of relationship between elements in which many items are each related to many, often shared target items

Many to One: A type of relationship in which each source item relates to exactly one target but each target can have more than one source. For example the "part of" relationship

Marginal Cost: The change in total costs that is incurred when one more unit is produced

Marginal Returns: Alias for Law of diminishing returns

Metaphor: In literature a device where one word is considered as being or equal to a second object in some way. When discussing complex technical issues a good metaphor helps comprehension.

Method: A piece of behaviour associated with either a specific object or class

MicroFormat: A way of encoding structured information within the body of a web page

MMI: Alias for User Interface

Model: Representation of something that simplifies some aspects of the full situation in order to improve comprehension and reasoning

mp3: A commonly used patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3: Alias for mp3


Narrative: Following the form of a story, describing a sequence of events

Normal Distribution: Alias for Probability Distribution


OASIS: A global consortium that develops data representation standards for use in computer software

Object: Alias for Entity

Object Attribute: Alias for Attribute

Object Class: Alias for Class

Object Diagram: Alias for UML Object Diagram

Object Method: Alias for Method

Object Oriented Database: A database which implements a collection of data objects each with its own attributes and methods

OLAP: Online analytical processing

One to Many: A relationship between elements in which each source element is related to a single target, but that target can have many such sources

One to One: A type of relationship in which each source item relates to exactly one target and each target relates to exactly one source.

Online analytical processing: An approach to multi-dimensional analytical queries that uses a multidimensional data model to speed up analytical and ad-hoc queries

Ontology: A formal representation of a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between those concepts

OODB: Object Oriented Database

Operating System: Alias for System Software

Optional Attribute: An attribute that may be present or missing within an entity

Oracle: The most widely used database software in businesses, an implementation of the relational data model

Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards: Alias for OASIS

Owner: The person or entity that commissioned the Information Architecture, usually the group that will deliver the resulting product or service


Package Diagram: Alias for UML Package Diagram

Pattern: A template or model which can be used to describe something. In architecture a pattern is an archetypal and reusable descriptions of elements of the design

Phase Diagram: A depiction that shows all possible states of a system, each state corresponding to one unique point

Phase Space: Alias for Phase Diagram

Philosophy: A systematic approach to the study of existence, knowledge, truth and language

Physical: Any elements which are composed of matter and not merely items of thought or belief

Physical Data Model: A data model implementation that is targeted at a particular technology (such as Oracle or an OODB)

Physical Media: A data transport form that is physical.

Physical Model: Alias for Physical Data Model

Pin Factory: A sequence of processes that assemble a result where the output of each step is the input of the next

PMBoK: Project Management Body of Knowledge

PMI: Project Management Institute

Poisson Distribution: Alias for Probability Distribution

Policy: A guide to decisions, a definition of the way that decisions are to be taken

Practice: A description of the way that things are done, usually used to document the most common set of steps carried out

Practitioner: A person that applies expertise in a discipline

Presentation: An event at which a topic is explained by one or more presenters to an audience.


PRINCE2: PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE) is a project management methodology from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the UK

Principle: A comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption. It can be a universal rule or code of conduct, a law or fact of nature

Prisoners dilemma: A problem defined in game theory in which the "obvious" strategy is rarely adopted in real-world situations

Probability Distribution: Identifies how the probability of a given result varies with the various possible outcomes

Procedure: A description of a set of steps to be followed in order to achieve some goal

Process: A collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product

Product: An item intended to satisfies a client's want or need

Production Line: Alias for Pin Factory

Program: A piece of software, in contrast with a programme

Programme: A collection of projects that share a common goal. Often the spelling is used to distinguish this meaning from program.

Project: A project is a collaborative enterprise, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular well defined aim. In contrast to a service.

Project Management: Alias for Project Manager

Project Management Body of Knowledge: A project management guide, and an internationally recognized standard, that provides the fundamentals of project management as they apply to a wide range of projects.

Project Management Institute: A non-profit professional organization with the purpose of advancing the state-of-the-art of project management. Publishers of the "Project Management Body of Knowledge"

Project Manager: A person that oversees the execution of a project

PRojects IN Controlled Environments: Alias for PRINCE2



Race Condition: A flaw in design where the final state of a system depends on which of two or more parallel actions complete first

RDB: Relational Data Model

Red Queen Situation: A situation in which constant application of effort is required just to maintain the current relative positions. For example if Cheetahs get faster that makes Antelope speed up which leaves the same number of prey getting caught

Redundant: The degree of duplication in a system, usually incorporated in order to increase the robustness of the system

Reference Data: Data that constrains the valid entries elsewhere in the logical data model

Reference Integrity: Ensuring that certain attribute of the data can only have a restricted set of values (for example storing the identifier of another item)

Relational: Alias for Relational Data Model

Relational Data Model: A database based on first-order predicate logic. The currently most widely used form of database.

Relational Database: Alias for Relational Data Model

Relationship: The connection, association or involvement between two or more items

Rendition: Alias for IA Rendition

Repository: Alias for Data Repository

Request for Comments: A collection of standards that define most aspects of the internet. Maintained and published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Review: This Engagement Stage is concerened with measuring the benefits that came from deploying a Product or service.

RFC: Request for Comments

RGB Colour Space: A description of colours in terms of the amount of Red, Green and Blue. This matches to many output devices (such as monitors) but is a poor choice when defining colours for a diagram

Rights Management: Alias for Entitlement

Robust: A robust system is one that will continue to function even when subject to disruption

Role: A set of behaviours, rights and obligations that can be assigned to an actor

Role Play: A session in which the roles being examined are acted out in order to gain insight as to the user's needs

RubberDucking: Alias for Cardboard Programmer

Rule Based System: Alias for Knowledge Based Systems


Sampling Theory: When conducting a series of trials it is important to cover all the key groupings. Sampling Theory explains how this can be done even when an exhaustive set of trials is impossible.

Schematic: A type of diagram that represents the elements of a system using abstract symbols rather than realistic pictures. In contrast to a textual representation

Sequence Diagram: Alias for UML Sequence Diagram

Service: A service is a discretely defined set of contiguous and autonomous business or technical functionalities. In contrast to a project

Shared Directory: A directory that can be accessed from a number of different systems, often only shared over a limited local area

Six Sigma: A management strategy that originated in manufaturing but has been spread to other areas of business.

Six Thinking Hats: Alias for De Bonos Hats

SME: Subject Matter Expert

Software: The instructions that cause a system to perform an action

Software Development: The practices involved in creating software, one of the domains of computer science

Solution: Alias for Product

Spider: Alias for Web Crawler

Spreadsheet: Application software that simulates a set of paper worksheets by displaying a grid of cells. Each cell either holds a value or calculates its value from other cells.

Stakeholder: Any person or group that have an interest in a project or service.

Standard Practice: Alias for Practice

State Machine Diagram: Alias for UML State Machine Diagram

Static Content: Alias for Information Content

Statistics: The collection, analysis and presentation of data

Stories for children: Alias for Metaphor

Structure Diagrams: Alias for UML Structure Diagrams

Subject: Alias for Domain

Subject Matter Expert: A person that is an expert in a particular domain. Usually an experienced practitioner

Survey: Using a set of structured questions to obtain input from stakeholders

Synchronisation: Alias for Data Migration

System Behaviour: A description of the way a complex system behaves over time. In contrast to the Information Content

System Behaviour Diagrams: Alias for UML Behaviour Diagrams

System Data: Alias for Information Content

System Dynamics: Alias for System Behaviour

System Interaction Diagrams: Alias for UML Interaction Diagrams

System Software: A piece of computer software designed to enable the computer to work in its environment. In contrast to application software

System Structure Diagrams: Alias for UML Structure Diagrams


Talking to Bears: Alias for Cardboard Programmer

Taxonomy: A hierarchical scheme of classification. Usually a valid taxonomy must be complete (every item is classified) and unambiguous (no item has more than one classification)

Technical Writing: A style of formal writing used to convert input from subject matter experts into a form suitable for a wider technical and nontechnical audience

Textual: A description of a system in words, in contrast to a schematic representation

Theory: An analytic structure designed to explain a set of observations

Timeliness: This measure of Data Quality reflects the degree to which data is available when it is needed

Timing Diagram: Alias for UML Timing Diagram

ToBe: The situtaion as it will exist if the proposed action is taken. In contrast to the AsIs state.

Top Down: Defining a system by starting with the major components and working towards the fine detail

Topic: Alias for Domain

Total Cost of Ownership: An analysis that takes into account not just the cost of obtaining an item, but also the cost of using it and disposing of it

Tragedy of the Commons: A situation where individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long term interest to do so

Transport: A description of how data is to be moved or held. The lowest level of a data form. Since standard approaches to file structure and communication protocols were adopted in the 1980s and 1990s there has been little need to discuss transport except in relation to physical media

Turing Complete: Alias for Universal Machine

Type: Alias for Data Type


UI: User Interface

UML: Unified Modeling Language

UML Activity Diagram: A UML diagram that represents the activities being performed

UML Behaviour Diagrams: UML diagrams that present the dynamic aspects of the system.

UML Class Diagram: A UML diagram that describes the system's classes

UML Communication Diagram: A UML diagram that shows the interactions between objects or parts in terms of sequenced messages

UML Component Diagram: A UML diagram that depicts how a software system is split up into components

UML Composite Structure Diagram: A UML diagram that describes the internal structure of a class and the collaborations that this structure makes possible

UML Deployment Diagram: A UML diagram that describes how the system is organised for deployment

UML Interaction Diagrams: The UML Behaviour Diagrams that document the flow of control and data within the system

UML Interaction Overview Diagram: A UML diagram that shows the interactions of the system

UML Object Diagram: A UML diagram that shows a view of the structure of a modeled system at a specific time

UML Package Diagram: A UML diagram that depicts how a system is split up into logical groupings

UML Sequence Diagram: A UML diagram that shows the sequence of messages between elements of the system

UML State Machine Diagram: A UML diagram that presents the states of the system and how it can change

UML Structure Diagrams: UML diagrams that present static elements that must be present in the system.

UML Timing Diagram: A UML interaction diagram that focuses on the timing constraints

UML Use Case Diagram: A UML diagram that shows the functionality of the system from the actor's viewpoint

Unicode: A computing industry standard allowing computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in most of the world's writing systems

Unified Modeling Language: A set of graphical notations that can be used to define abstract models of systems. UML2.0 is the standard set of diagrams used in software developmentand hence has been adopted in many other fields

Universal Machine: A system that can perform complex calculations. The term comes from the fact that all such systems can emulate each other and hence are equivalent in terms of the results they can achieve

Use Case: A description of a system's behaviour as it responds to a request that originates from outside of that system

Use Case Diagram: Alias for UML Use Case Diagram

User: A person who uses a system, the normal expectation is that users do not require the technical expertise required to fully understand the system

User Honeycomb: A picture that brings together the key elements of user data usage

User Interface: the combination of means by which the user interacts with a system

User Survey: Alias for Survey


Variable costs: Alias for Marginal Cost

Veitch Diagram: Alias for Karnaugh Map


W3C: World Wide Web Consortium

Web: A system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet

Web Crawler: It is often usefull to process a number of web pages, when this is automated the resulting system is known as a "Spider"

Web Site Construction: Alias for Building Web Sites

Wiki: A web based system that enables user contribution to the creation of pages.

Win Win Situation: A situation in which each participant can benefit without anyone having to lose. In contrast to a Zero Sum Game

Work Flow: Alias for Workflow

Workflow: Could mean any one of three quite distinct things, the sequence of activities carried out to achieve a business goal, the set of steps carried out in a process or the way that a particular effect is achieved in an application

Workshop: A gathering of interested parties that works through defined procedures in order to answer a set of predefined questions

World Wide Web: Alias for Web

World Wide Web Consortium: A body that develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential

WWW: Web


XML: A widely used data format


Ymper Trymon: Fictional character created by Terry Pratchett who "found solace in organisational charts showing lots of squares with arrows pointing to lots of other squares. The sort of man who could use the word 'personnel' and mean it"


Zack Feature: Alias for Blue Sky

Zero Sum Game: A situation in which one person's gain is exactly matched by another's loss. In contrast to a Win/Win Situation

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