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An Integrated Conceptual Model to Incorporate Information Tasks in Workflow Models

Sandeep Purao; Wolfgang Maaß; Veda C. Storey; Bernard J. Jansen; Madhu C. Reddy
In: Conceptual Modeling - 31st International Conference ER 2012, Florence, Italy, October 15-18, 2012. Proceedings. International Conference on Conceptual Modeling (ER), Pages 487-500, Springer, 2012.


In information-rich environments, participants can, and often must, access and use diverse sources of data to support their decision-making tasks. Modeling such environments is important, but cannot be done without effective conceptual models. A problem in information-rich environments is a disconnect between the control-flow across tasks and the information flow that must accompany these tasks. This can pose a challenge for supporting workflows in such environments. Micro-level concerns such as information seeking, sharing, recording, interpreting and hand-offs are not captured in existing workflow models. Without these information-related tasks, the control flows depicted appear to occur magically. We propose an integrated conceptual modeling technique that allows modeling both, control-flows and information-flows. The technique overloads some constructs while retaining their semantic origins, obviating the need to learn new constructs. We elaborate on the model with authentic examples drawn from ethnographic studies of healthcare practices in intensive care units. The paper demonstrates how: the proposed overloading can model information-related tasks; and help bring together conceptual modeling of control and information-flows in information-rich environments. The technique is evaluated with the help of multiple real-world examples.

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