The Core of Information Oriented Architecture
Jan van Til
Did you ever notice that the vast majority of ICT people hardly talk about information and its fundamental characteristics? They do talk nineteen to the dozen about technical stuff like Object Oriented (OO), like Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), like Enterprise Service Busses (ESB), like network protocols as TCP/IP etc. etc.
None of these ‘thing’s are of real interest to you – the user/producer of information. You only need trustworthy information at your fingertips whenever you need it. Any time and any place and any why. The technical stuff is crucially important – we can’t do without anymore, but should never be leading or dominant. ICT only serves as a means to the informational end. Agree?
So, let’s orient ourselves at information and try to imagine the core of, say, IOA – Information Oriented Architecture. Let’s trust our technologies to be sufficiently advanced to cope with the outcomes of our new orientation: information.
Information is used by human beings for decision making. Making good decisions, requires you to avail yourself of the clear meaning of that information. And meaning of information simply depends on its context – as we readily know by now from social psychology. Other context? Other meaning! Other decision! Information is always and inextricably (sic!) connected to its context. Information never ever meaningfully exists an sich. No.
Therefore IOA requires information to be organised systematically : Information connected to its Context. Context being Information too, of course! Information gets networked in order to provide each Information with clear meaning by means of its accompanying Context. Sufficient Context, derived form systematically organised information and firmly associated with the Information one needs, yields optimal possibilities for effective and efficient decision making.
Systematically organised information can, of course, be processed by SOA-services. Object Oriented  gets transformed into Context Oriented . Enterprise Service Busses still transport large amounts of data in existing as well as new intelligent ways. Etc.
Systematically organised information naturally provides you with information of the clearest possible meaning. Contextual meaning, of course – which naturally develops on the fly. From this core of IOA, human interoperability  becomes real. Additionally, IOA also helps to transform several other persistent problems we face today .
December 2011, 2011 © Jan van Til
 Detailed information about the meaning of systematically organised information can be found in the article “Systematic Organisation of Information”. See: http://information-roundabout.eu/articles/systematic-organisation-of-information/.
 OO’s paradigm rests on absolute meaning of information; OO is too weak to cope with situational meaning (see ) – which is far more realistic. See: http://information-roundabout.eu/misconceptions/object-orientations-credentials/.
 Meaning is not absolute, but throughout situational. See: http://information-roundabout.eu/articles/situational-meaning/.
 Human interoperability goes beyond (technical) interoperability we’re so very used to. In case you want to know more on human interoperability as opposed to technical interoperability: http://information-roundabout.eu/presentations/human-interoperability-2/. This short article also points to a slide-presentation at SlideShare.
 An Information Roundabout is based on (the core of) IOA and provides benefits as mentioned in: http://information-roundabout.eu/why/.