Chapter 5. Types and Categories: the Classification of Data

Since the 1980s we have seen the amazing growth in data content around the world, in part due to the World Wide Web being part of people's lives. How do we manage this data content, how do we begin to get our minds around this myriad of information? Biologists have come to the rescue. They have been using classifications, also known as taxonomies, since the days of Carl Linnaeus,[37] the great Swedish naturalist.

It seems to be part of human nature to create classifications. It helps people to organize complex sets of data into categories. Classifications give humans a common vocabulary for grouping data sets. For example, most enterprises need reports and analytics to manage their business. Senior management needs to see revenue reports categorized by business line, and a technical call center's work gets driven by exception reports sorted by various types of errors. Manufacturing companies need to report on available inventory by product type and so on. People working in these enterprises need to analyze the data in the reports, summarize the report information into classes, or drill into the detail of a class to the underlying data. The categories in the reports are a common vocabulary between departments and people in an enterprise. This common language requires that various types of data can be grouped together into different classifications.

What Is the Significance of This Type of Pattern?

Data models often capture ...

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