Guidelines for writing a HOMS component description world map
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HOMS component

Each component in HOMS will be presented in the HOMS Reference Manual (HRM) by a two page description. This description will be the first contact that users have with the component. Their decision as to whether or not they could make use of the component will be made on the basis of this description. Therefore, the description should aim at giving a comprehensive idea of the capabilities of the component and the conditions required for its use. Descriptions may be written in English, French, Russian or Spanish. The descriptions will be translated into English for initial publication and normally be edited before being included in the HRM. The HRM is published in printed form, on the Internet and on diskette and authors should bear in mind the capabilities and limitations of these different forms when writing descriptions. In particular, they should avoid the use of graphical figures or complex equations.

Only the two page description will be published. If necessary, additional information that is referred to in the description may be made available on request from the author.

Each component has a title about ten words long. The title is used for computerized search and query procedures and should therefore be as informative as possible. Acronyms should be avoided, unless these are well known, or are given in full in the title.

Each component will be assigned a reference number based on the classification system. Authors are asked to advise on the classification.

The description must contain the following ten sections, with the exception that Sections 3 and 4 may not always be needed:


1. Purpose and objectives

This section should state the problem or task the component is intended to solve. It should be brief. Usually two or three sentences will be sufficient.


2. Description

This section should contain, in as much detail as possible, a description of the facilities offered and the methods used. Specific benefits of using this component should be mentioned. References to books and publications may be made, but the description should be complete in itself. This section is usually the longest in the component description. Following are some ideas on what to include under certain categories:

INSTRUMENTS:

  • What variables does the instrument measure?
  • What is the range of measurement and accuracy?
  • Calibration procedures in the field and in the laboratory?
  • What physical measuring principle is employed?
  • Is recording analogue or digital?
  • Installation/environmental requirements for the instrument?
  • Requirements for data analysis/visualisation?
  • COMPUTER PROGRAMS:

  • What computations are made and what data are used?
  • What is the expected output?
  • What mathematical/statistical methods are used?
  • Is it a stand-alone application or are other components required?
  • What hardware is required?

TECHNICAL MANUALS and GUIDES:

  • What methods are described and what are the intended results?
  • Is it useful also for teaching purposes?
  •  

3. Input

This section may not be needed for instruments, manuals and catalogues. It should describe the physical processes or data required for operating the component and their nature/format. State here also, if the output of another HOMS component is used as input to this component.


4. Output

This section may not be needed for manuals and catalogues. The conceptual or physical product should be described here. State if the output is used as input to another HOMS component.


5. Operational requirements and restrictions

The following requirements should be covered where applicable:

  • The number and professional level of personnel required to install, operate and maintain the component;
  • The training strategy for implementation and use;
  • Computer hardware, operating system and other software required;
  • Characteristics of power supply, environmental conditions.

6. Form of presentation

This should describe precisely what the component consists of. For example, is the component a computer program, a manual, or an instrument? Give the language of any printed documents and computer program messages, the programming language of the computer programs, specification of format and media for the data/software.


7. Operational experience

This section should describe actual operational experience gained using the component. Describe where it was used, giving the countries and environmental conditions. State briefly how successful it was. If an earlier or similar version of the technology contained in this component was available as a HOMS component in the past, this should be mentioned here.


8. Originator and technical support

Give appropriate credit to the originator (individual, agency, corporation) of the component. Technical support: Who will answer technical questions and possibly solve problems with the component? If training opportunities are available, they should be stated here. Also, if no technical support is available, this should be stated explicitly here. However, unsupported components will in general not be included in HOMS.


9. Availability

An indication must be given as to where the component and any additional information may be obtained, with full address and communication details.


10. Conditions on use

This section should cover financial and legal (including copyright) conditions - not technical conditions, these are covered under Section 5. It is hoped that components will be made available without charge, or for production costs only. If a charge is to be made for a component, the approximate amount must be stated here.

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