Archetype (information science)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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.

Formal Specifications[edit]

The modern Archetype formalism is specified and maintained by the openEHR Foundation,[oe 1] and although originally developed for the health IT domain, is completely domain-independent, and has been used in geospatial modelling, telecommunications, and defence.

The Archetype Formalism consists of a number of specifications[oe 2] including:

  • 'ADL 1.4': original release of Archetype Definition Language (ADL) and Archetype Object Model (AOM); widely implemented in health IT domain;
  • 'ADL 2': modern release of Archetype Definition Language (ADL), Archetype Object Model (AOM), Archetype Identification specification and Archetype Technology Overview.

The Archetype Technology Overview[oe 3] provides a short technical overview of the archetype formalism useful for new users.

The ADL/AOM 1.4 specifications[oe 4][oe 5] were provided to ISO TC 215 in 2008 and became the ISO 13606-2 standard,[2] extant until 2017. ISO TC 215 has accepted the AOM 2 specification[oe 6] as the basis for a revision of this standard, to be issued in 2017.

In late 2015, the Object Management Group (OMG) accepted an RfP entitled 'Archetype Modeling Language (AML)' as a new candidate standard.[3] This specification is a form of ADL re-engineered as a UML profile so as to enable archetype modelling to be supported within UML tools.


A number of tools area available for working with archetypes. Most are listed on the openEHR modelling tools page.[oe 7] They include:

  • ADL Designer - modern AOM2-based web editing application[oe 8]
  • Archetype Editor - original desktop clinical modelling tool
  • Template Designer - original desktop clinical templating tool
  • LinkEHR - archetype and data integration tool[4]
  • ADL Workbench - reference compiler and visualiser tool.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ S. Heard & T. Beale. (eds.) (2005). "Archetype definitions and principles" (PDF). openEHR. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "ISO 13606-2:2008 Health informatics -- Electronic health record communication -- Part 2: Archetype interchange specification". ISO TC 215. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Archetype Modeling Language™ (AML™)". Object Management Group. 
  4. ^ "LinkEHR". Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Retrieved 23 May 2016. 

References (openEHR)[edit]

  1. ^ "openEHR website". openEHR Foundation. 
  2. ^ "openEHR Archetype specifications". openEHR Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Archetype Technology Overview". openEHR Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Archetype Definition Language 1.4 specification". openEHR Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Archetype Object Model (AOM) 1.4". openEHR Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Archetype Object Model 2 (AOM2) Specification". openEHR Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "Archetype modelling tools". openEHR Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "ADL Designer". openEHR ADL Designer team.