When experts or professionals deal with problems, they tend to approach the problem based on historical experience, current observations and future trends. They usually recall similar experiences and draw on best practices and lessons learned. For most of us in information technology, the concepts of reuse are not new, but few of us pay homage to Christopher Alexander and his original work on utilizing patterns in architecture. The object oriented crowd picked up on patterns and changed their industry. A recent book, The Design of Sites (Van Duyne, Landay, Hong, 2002), describes a collection of patterns for building Web sites. The book begins with a short chapter on the foundations of good design, which provides principles and standards and focuses on customer-centric goals. The core of the book is the 12 design categories based on real examples, which are described in detail. Is it possible to create patterns for enterprise metadata? The first step is to establish a collection of categories where we can classify the patterns of the organization. One such collection might include structure patterns, design patterns, process patterns, content patterns, service patterns and architecture patterns.

Structure patterns focus on the core data structures and standards defined by the data architecture organization. As the architects of metadata, we are responsible for defining and implementing metamodel standards such as Reusable Asset Specification (RAS), Object Management Group (OMG) or Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI). These standards should be cataloged and made readily available to the technology community. While core asset metamodels are critical, integration patterns such as the Dublin Core are also important. Many data architects focus on building domains for specific fields such as race, gender, months, days of the week, etc. These standards, hence patterns, are critical to integrating data across systems and should be captured by a central repository. Other structures patterns such as Records Information Management (RIM) Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) are emerging and adding to the portfolio.

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