Skip to Main Content
Organisations need a structured approach for managing the design of their electronic product support systems (PSSs) since, although technology can assist users with faster information retrieval, if the information is incorrect, the technology could actually increase the error rate. We present an approach for the semantic design and analysis of PSSs as part of a systematic methodology for the development of optimal PSSs. A semantic data model for PSSs is proposed based on an information usage analysis. This analysis aims at abstracting the intended purpose for the product information, the supported user tasks, and the functional characteristics of the product information elements. These abstract views are combined together into an activity-based semantic network and set of rules and constraints, which are then mapped into a database schema. This mapping creates a knowledge base that preserves the data semantics, which can then be used by authors in order to implement the PSS. A Web-based technical manual, which is a special type of PSS, is used in order to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed semantic data model.