Archetype (information science)

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In the field of informatics, an archetype is a formal re-usable model of a domain concept. Traditionally, the term archetype is used in psychology to mean an idealized model of a person, personality or behaviour (see Archetype). The usage of the term in informatics is derived from this traditional meaning, but applied to domain modelling instead.

An archetype is defined by the OpenEHR Foundation (for health informatics) as follows:[1]

An archetype is a computable expression of a domain content model in the form of structured constraint statements, based on some reference model. openEHR archetypes are based on the openEHR reference model. Archetypes are all expressed in the same formalism. In general, they are defined for wide re-use, however, they can be specialized to include local particularities. They can accommodate any number of natural languages and terminologies.

The use of archetypes in health informatics was first documented by Thomas Beale, who stated the concept was coined by Derek Renouf. According to Beale, Renouf applied archetypes to configuring Smalltalk systems.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ S. Heard & T. Beale. (eds.) (2005). "Archetype definitions and principles". openEHR. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Beale, Thomas (2002). "Archetypes: Constraint-based Domain Models for Future-proof Information Systems". Proceedings of the 11th OOPSLA Workshop on Behavioural Semantics.  (PDF)