Tuesday, March 21, 2006
FDA's Naming Police
Anyone who works with information models knows how difficult it is to create good names for things and my UC Berkeley course syllabi for Information Organization and Retrieval" and Document Engineering and Information Architecture" include lots of readings and case studies that rigorously demonstrate that. My favorite is a paper called What's in a name" that contains wonderfully deadpan advice about choosing good names:
If one person thinks of a “shipping container” as being a cardboard box and another person thinks of a “shipping container” as being a semi-trailer, some interesting conversations regarding capacity can occur.
So I think it would be great service to our field if the FDA were to publish its "name design rules" or provide access to its name testing software. But I suspect that the rules and software are a little shaky and the FDA is reluctant to make them more transparent.