The retrieval of structured design rationale for the re-use of design knowledge with an integrated representation

Hongwei Wang, A. Johnson, R. Bracewell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Design knowledge can be acquired from various sources and generally requires an integrated representation for its effective and efficient re-use. Though knowledge about products and processes can illustrate the solutions created (know-what) and the courses of actions (know-how) involved in their creation, the reasoning process (know-why) underlying the solutions and actions is still needed for an integrated representation of design knowledge. Design rationale is an effective way of capturing that missing part, since it records the issues addressed, the options considered, and the arguments used when specific design solutions are created and evaluated. Apart from the need for an integrated representation, effective retrieval methods are also of great importance for the re-use of design knowledge, as the knowledge involved in designing complex products can be huge. Developing methods for the retrieval of design rationale is very useful as part of the effective management of design knowledge, for the following reasons. Firstly, design engineers tend to want to consider issues and solutions before looking at solid models or process specifications in detail. Secondly, design rationale is mainly described using text, which often embodies much relevant design knowledge. Last but not least, design rationale is generally captured by identifying elements and their dependencies, i.e. in a structured way which opens the opportunity for going beyond simple keyword-based searching. In this paper, the management of design rationale for the re-use of design knowledge is presented. The retrieval of design rationale records in particular is discussed in detail. As evidenced in the development and evaluation, the methods proposed are useful for the re-use of design knowledge and can be generalised to be used for the retrieval of other kinds of structured design knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-266
    Number of pages16
    JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'The retrieval of structured design rationale for the re-use of design knowledge with an integrated representation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this