Information Architecture News

Good definitions – part 2

An earlier post introduced the 2 parts of a good definition and discussed Part 1 – identify the class or set of things to which the business term belongs, and then differentiates that term from all others in the class or set. This post discusses Part 2.

Part 2, which is optional, contains usage guidelines or how to apply the concept being defined.  Sometimes these guidelines are called business rules.  They can include references to time (spring semester, fiscal year), chronology (Thing A happens before Thing B), sequencing, consequence, or any type of information that a steward thinks will aid in understanding a term.

EXAMPLES:

Anticipated Financial Aid: A form of financial aid that has been awarded, but not disbursed (Part 1). This aid acts as a credit on a student billing statement before the beginning of the academic term. (Part 2, sequence).

Current Past Due: A portion of Student Account Balance that is more than 30 days past due. (Part 1) Student Account Holds are placed on any account with a past due balance greater than $25 and more than 30 days past due. (Part 2, consequence).

Country of Residence: The nation state of which a person is legally recognized as a resident for immigration purposes, (Part 1) which may or may not be the same as country of citizenship. Associated permissions, requirements, and documentation will vary by country. Residency may also refer to a tax relationship, which is usually tied to primary residence or domicile. (Part 2, additional information).

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