Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Sucessfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin, 2008.


Several application domains, such as healthcare, incorporate domain knowledge into their day-to-day activities to standardise and enhance their performance. Such incorporation produces complex information, which contains two main clusters (active and passive) of information that have internal connections between them. The active cluster determines the recommended procedure that should be taken as a reaction to specific situations. The passive cluster determines the information that describes these situations and other descriptive information plus the execution history of the complex information. In the healthcare domain, a medical patient plan is an example for complex information produced during the disease management activity from specific clinical guidelines. This thesis investigates the complex information management at an application domain level in order to support the day-to-day organization activities. In this thesis, a unified generic approach and framework, called SIM (Specification, Instantiation and Maintenance), have been developed for computerising the complex information management. The SIM approach aims at providing a conceptual model for the complex information at different abstraction levels (generic and entity-specific). In the SIM approach, the complex information at the generic level is referred to as a skeletal plan from which several entity-specific plans are generated. The SIM framework provides comprehensive management aspects for managing the complex information. In the SIM framework, the complex information goes through three phases, specifying the skeletal plans, instantiating entity-specific plans, and then maintaining these entity-specific plans during their lifespan. In this thesis, a language, called AIM (Advanced Information Management), has been developed to support the main functionalities of the SIM approach and framework. AIM consists of three components: AIMSL, AIM ESPDoc model, and AIMQL. The AIMSL is the AIM specification component that supports the formalisation process of the complex information at a generic level (skeletal plans). The AIM ESPDoc model is a computer-interpretable model for the entity-specific plan. AIMQL is the AIM query component that provides support for manipulating and querying the complex information, and provides special manipulation operations and query capabilities, such as replay query support. The applicability of the SIM approach and framework is demonstrated through developing a proof-of-concept system, called AIMS, using the available technologies, such as XML and DBMS. The thesis evaluates the the AIMS system using a clinical case study, which has applied to a medical test request application.