Integrated Information

Table of Contents of this page

  • Integrated Information
  • 1. Semantic networks
  • 2. What is Integrated Information?
  • 3. Information model creation procedure

1. Semantic networks

A core concept of Gellish is the idea that any information that is expressed in Gellish forms a semantic network. A semantic network is a network in which the nodes (concepts, things) are linked to each other by (binary) relations (relationships), whereas those relations have classification relations with other nodes that represent kinds of relations that are definied in the language defining dictionary. Such networks can be about individual things as well as about kinds of things or both. Each such a semantic network is thus expressed in the formal language. This implies that by definition it forms an integrated whole with the semantic network that defines the formal language. In other word, the concepts that are used in expressions have explicit relations with concepts that are already defined in the language definition or are reused concepts that were defined earlier in the taxonomic dictionary. This means that any information that is expressed in Gellish forms an extension of virtually one integrated semantic network. Such an integrated network may also include expressions of knowledge and requirements as well as documents. Such an integrated network enables free navigation through a semantic network in any direction. For example from individual things to knowledge or requirements or definitions about kinds of things and vice versa. It also enables the specification of any sub-network of the total network as being a sub-model expressing some specific information.

2. What is Integrated Information?

Integrated information in Gellish is information that is expressed as a semantic network and that forms an integrated whole with the semantic network that defines the family of Gellish languages and that obeys the rules of Gellish, such as the rules about unique identifiers (Gelish UIDs). This has as consequence that multiple networks are automatically integrated with other information (any other semantic network) that is also expressed in Gellish. An Integrated Information Model is a name for the scope of a semantic network that includes various kinds of information about some particular subject(s) and that is integrated with least the language definition network. When such an information model concerns a facility, a product, a building, etc., then the result can be called a Facility Information Model, a Product Information Model, a Building Information Model (BIM), etc.

The Gellish Modeling Methodology aims at increasing the quality and accessibility of information (documents and data) about one or more subjects (such as facilities or a collection of products and/or processes) and at the same time to reduce costs of managing data about the subjects and possibly about their use. The basic vehicle for that is the development and use of electronic Integrated
. Such integrated information typically include expressions of information about one or more individual things and it can also include information about kinds of things. Information about individual things can be either design information about particular things or it may be about real world objects, or both. For example, it can be a design of a component or of a complete process plant, a building complex, a road or a road network, a ship or an airplane. Such designs are imaginary individual things that only exist in peoples minds. Other information can be about a real world object that is fabricated, constructed and installed, operated and maintained or information about components of such things. Integrated information can also be about kinds of things or it can also be about any combination of them.

Integrated information that is created according to the Gellish Modeling Methodology is documented in a system independent way in one or more Gellish enabled databases. This means that various parts of the network can be exported from such a system and can be imported in any system that is able to read and interpret Gellish expressions. That is the reason why these pages don’t discuss any particular software system, but only deal with their data and document content.

Important kinds of systems in which integrated information can be implemented are document oriented systems, such as extended Electronic Document Management Systems (extended EDMS’s), Content Management Systems (CMS systems) or Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM systems). Another kind of systems in which Integrated Information may be implemented are more data oriented systems, such as Product Data Management Systems (PDM systems) and Product Lifecycle Management Systems (PLM systems) or ERP systems, typically extended with 2D drawing and 3D shape representation capabilities.

Traditionally information about a product is recorded in documents, first in paper documents, later in electronic documents. Integrated information implies that a core part of the information is expressed as data, which data reflects products and/or processes and their components and the operation or usage of products and possibly their properties. It also implies that another part consists of the remaining documents. Each of those documents is then related to the product or process about which the document contains information.

Figure 1, Integrated Information Architecture

Integrated Information generally has an architecture as is presented in Figure 1. The architecture consists of five sections (four of them shown in the above figure), of which only the dictionary (language definition) section is obligatory. Note that the small rectangular boxes represent either part-whole relations or subtype-supertype relations. The sections of the architecture are the following.

1. Product and process information.
Product and process information consists of data in a network structure, so that it forms a semantic network about one or more products and/or processes, being e.g. a process plant, ship, building, road, or components, etc. This may reflect the design of a facility or of products and their intended operation or it may describe actually fabricated things and their operation, or both.
The product and process information section typically includes a composition hierarchy (also called a breakdown structure) of the products as well as the properties of their components and relations to other things. It may also include (relations to) the processes that take place in the products, together with the processed materials and the activities on the components. It may even include the people who shall or actually perform tasks related to the products or components.

2. Document Models.
Document Models consist of documents (represented by nodes in the network) that have relations of specific kinds to the products, together with information about those documents. Integrated information implies that relations are included between the documents and the products and processes about which they provide information. A document model includes the repository of documents about the products and/or processes as well as the procedures to operate or use, inspect and maintain products.

3. Requirement.
Expressions of requirements form an optional section in an integrated semantic network. It expresses requirements about kinds of product and processes and their components and aspects. The requirements are specified in the form of relations between concepts in the dictionary (using expressions with <shall have…> or <shall be…> relations). An example of the expression of a requirement is: (a) compressor <shall have as aspect a> capacity.

4. Possibilities.
Expressions of knowledge about possibilities (possible solutions or options for kinds of things) form another optional section in an integrated semantic network. It describes what can be the case for things of particular kinds, including kinds of things that appear in the product and process information section. The specification of possibilities do not exclude that non-specified possibilities are excluded. The possibilities are expressed in the form of relations between concepts that are defined in the dictionary. Expressions of knowledge about possibilities use different kinds of relations than requirements or definitions, especially using phrases that start with <can have…> or <can be…>. For example: a building <can have as aspect a> number of levels.

5. Dictionary (Definitions and definition models).
The electronic Gellish dictionary is an integrated section of any integrated semantic network. It defines the kinds of components, kinds of documents, kinds of processes and kinds of properties, etc. for the language and should include the application domain of various sections of the integrated information. It defines the ‘common language’ of the whole semantic network.

Each product or process or component or aspect in the product and process section shall be related by a classification relation to a concept in the dictionary.

Each document and file in the document section shall be related to a document type or file type, which is also included in the dictionary.

Product and process information as well as all integrated information together forms a semantic network of related things. In other words it consists of ‘objects’ with relations between those ‘objects’. Those relations can include not only relations between components of the products and processes, but also relations between the components and the processes, activities, properties (including also shapes and coordinates) and documents.

Thus, integrated information is the integration of a collection of expressions (data) and documents that model and describe products and/or processes, their use or operation and maintenance, whereas each component and each document or aspect, as well as each relation is classified by a concept (a kind) that is defined in the Gellish dictionary or its proprietary extension.
Integrated information can be implemented in various ways. The essence is that the user of a system by which the data and documents are accessed should experience it as one integrated network. Nevertheless, the system may be constructed such that the documents are stored in a simple directory or such that they are be stored in a separate document management system and the data are stored in one or more databases.

3. Information model creation procedure

The process of creating electronic Integrated Information will depend on the available material, the phase in the (project) lifecycle of the products or facilities and the intended scope.
The creation of an integrated Facility Information Model may start for example with the following source material:

  • Bills of Materials or Equipment lists, including information about related equipment/assemblies and documents about the equipment.
  • Document indexes.
  • Plot plan, Block diagrams, Process Flow Diagrams and Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (for verification).

The management of Bills of Materials, Equipment lists and Document indexes requires that revisions of those lists should contain an indication of each assertion that is changed. This is necessary to enable a proper update of the database. This means that it shall be indicated whether an equipment item or document is deleted, modified or added, relative to the previous version.
Typically the following steps are then taken to create the backbone of an Integrated Information Model:

1. Create a composition hierarchy of the product(s) (also called an asset breakdown structure).
1.1 Make coded names (tag names) and unit names consistent and compliant with a standardized convention.
1.2 Classify components, equipment and units. This implies: Classify the site, the facilities, (process) units, buildings, roads, systems, equipment, etc. and their components.
1.3 Decompose the products. This implies: Specify for each component of which assembly (or assemblies) it is a part and add systems and include them in the decomposition hierarchy.

The result will be a table of expressions in Gellish expression format. An example of the core of such a table is illustrated as follows:

B1 <is classified as a> building
B1 <has as part> C1
C1 <is classified as a> HVAC system
C1 <has as part> C2
C2 <is classified as a> cooling unit

2. Specify document auxiliary data (meta data) and file names.
2.1 Make document titles consistent.
2.2 Classify documents. This implies: Classify each document by standard document types.
2.3 Decompose documents where appropriate. This implies that for some documents (e.g. binders or multi-page drawings?) a decomposition shall be specified.
2.4 Add version succession of documents. This implies that documents that are succeeded by new versions shall be related to their successor.

This step and also the followings steps also result in collections of Gellish expressions. All those tables together form the integrated Facility Information, also called the Facility Information Model.

3. Relate documents to equipment.
Specify for each equipment item on which document it appears, or for each document about which object or equipment items it contains information.

4. Relate documents to files at addresses.
Specify for each document on which a physical medium it is presented, either as an electronic data file or on paper, microfilm or any other medium.

5. Identify fabricated/installed items and relate them to designed items.
Specify for each installed item for which design item (tagged item) it is installed and classify them by the manufacturer’s models that are applied.

6. Add activities and processes (functions).

Specify which processes (functions) are or will be performed in or by the facility and its components and which activities are performed by people that operate or maintain the facility and its components.

7. Add aspects to the components.

Specify the properties, qualities, dimensions, shapes, coordinates and other qualitative and quantitative aspects of the facility and its components and possibly to the activities, processes and products.

8. Add other facts (relations)

Specify additional information as required to complete the specification.

Once the Gellish expressions are created they can be directly read by Gellish enabled software to search for information and documents about any object or kind in the integrated information. Selections of the information can also be exchanged in the format and can be combined with Gellish Expression format tables that contain additional information.

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