Archetype (information science)

In the field of informatics , an archetype is a formal re-usable model of a domain concept. Traditionally, the term archetype is used in psychology to mean an idealized model of a person, personality or behavior (see Archetype ). The use of the term in informatics is derived from this traditional meaning, but applied to the domain modeling instead.

An archetype is defined by the OpenEHR Foundation (for health informatics ) as follows: [1]

An archetype is a computable expression of a domain model in the form of a constraint statement. OpenEHR archetypes are based on the openEHR reference model. Archetypes are all expressed in the same formalism. In general, they are defined for wide re-use, however, they may be specialized to include local particularities. They can accommodate any number of natural languages ​​and terminologies.

Formal Specifications

The modern Archetype formalism is defined and maintained by the openEHR Foundation, [oe 1] and although originally developed for the health IT domain, is completely domain-independent, and has been used in geospatial modeling, telecommunications, and defense.

The Archetype Formalism consists of a number of specifications [oe 2] including:

  • ‘ADL 1.4’: original release of Archetype Definition Language (ADL) and Archetype Object Model (AOM); Widely implemented in health IT domain;
  • ‘ADL 2’: modern release of Archetype Definition Language (ADL), Archetype Object Model (AOM), Archetype Identification specification and Archetype Technology Overview.

The Archetype Technology Overview [ow 3] Provides a short technical overview of the archetype formalism Useful for new users.

The ADL / AOM 1.4 specifications [ow 4] [5 oe] Were Provided to ISO TC 215 in 2008 and est devenu the ISO 13606-2 standard, [2] extant up to 2017 ISO TC 215 accepted the AOM HAS 2 specification [6 oe ] As the basis for a revision of this standard, to be issued in 2017.

In late 2015, the Object Management Group (OMG) accepted an RfP entitled ‘Archetype Modeling Language (AML)’ as a new candidate standard. [3] This specification is a form of ADL re-engineered as a UML profile so as to enable archetype modeling to be supported within UML tools.


A number of tools available for working with archetypes. Most are listed on the openEHR modeling tools page. [Oe 7] They include:

  • ADL Designer – modern AOM2-based web editing application [oe 8]
  • Archetype Editor – original desktop clinical modelling tool
  • Template Designer – original desktop clinical templating tool
  • Archetype and data integration tool [4]
  • ADL Workbench – reference compiler and visualiser tool.

See also

  • EHRcom
  • European Institute for Health Records
  • Good European Health Record
  • HISA
  • Information science
  • openEHR


  1. Jump up^ S. Heard & T. Beale. (Eds.) (2005). “Archetype definitions and principles” (PDF) . OpenEHR . Retrieved 22 May 2013 .
  2. Jump up^ “ISO 13606-2: 2008 Health informatics – Electronic health record communication – Part 2: Archetype interchange specification” . ISO TC 215 . Retrieved 23 May 2016 .
  3. Jump up^ “Archetype Modeling Language ™ (AML ™)” . Object Management Group.
  4. Jump up^ “LinkEHR” . Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) . Retrieved 23 May 2016 .

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