Change Over Time
Tracking change over time is one of the most perplexing information management challenges. Capturing and logging every change can be resource intensive and not necessarily useful.
Understanding what changes to keep and for how long is a guess.
The undo button is great for short-term actions. Restoring previous versions of documents is also helpful. However, in these cases it is helpful that the user have some personal recollection of the content.
Understanding transactions and the related audit trail is a different challenge. While a lot of nuance is lost in the translation to transactions, a lot of detail can be inferred. There is a short-hand to business transactions that convey a lot of meaning.
But if you really want to understand what really happened, you would need to read between the lines and fill in the blanks.
This is the white space of information technology. The information that is there but not there.
The corollary to the white space is the dense black hole of information. This is not even the so called treasure trove of big data. This is the dense and detailed instructions designed to give the next person in line all the information that they need.
And the best part is that all of this information changes over time. Some of it becomes irrelevant, while other information remains critical. Discerning the difference between the two different types of information is an art form too.
Looking at evolving information forensically is time consuming. Automated reports aggregate the data, but that adds distortion too.
In most cases the data is accurate enough, but it is full of exceptions and special cases. Special cases and exceptions are what cause data to breakdown or programs to be too complicated.
Information technology helps track change over time, and helps to uncover change over time.
Designing informations systems that appreciate the underlying assumption of change