In the content world, I spend a lot of time modeling content. In the knowledge graph world, I am more concerned with modeling domains.
At Confab I offhandedly mentioned to a friend that the way I distinguish a content model from a domain model is that the content model is what you have decided to say about the stuff in a domain model. That seemed to resonate with my friend (hi, Scott!), so I thought I’d develop a bit more my thinking on the differences between content modeling and domain modeling and the connections between them.
Domain modeling is the process of identifying the entities in a domain, accounting for their attributes, and showing the relationships between them.
For example, the domain of “pets” might include a variety of domesticated animals, pet foods, and accessories, along with information about pet types and breeds, nutritional information, and a myriad of other information about the attributes of each of those entities and how they relate to one another.
This kind of understanding of a domain is crucial to the process of planning, creating, managing, and sharing content about it.
Content modeling is the process of applying domain knowledge in a content strategy and design process.
Content strategy requires balancing business goals and customer needs. This entails tough decisions about what content to produce and how to manage it.
Content design requires balancing divergent and convergent thinking to make similarly tough decisions about which problems to solve and how to address them.
In both practices, once you have made a decision, you need to have a plan for how you’ll create and share the content elements needed for the business processes and customer interactions you are creating.
Those decisions are codified in a content model. The most common way to represent a content model is in the schema design for a CMS, which sets out the content types, elements, and formats in the system.
• • • • • • •
There’s a lot more to it than this quick outline, and this process isn’t as 1:1 as I make it out to be here, but this quick exercise has helped me tidy a bit my thinking on the subject. Hope it helps you, too.