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Extending the Notion of Quality from Physical Metrology to Information and Sustainability



Gaurav Ameta, Sudarsan Rachuri, Xenia Fiorentini, Mahesh Mani, Steven J. Fenves, Kevin W. Lyons, Ram D. Sriram


In this paper we intend to demonstrate the need for extending the notion of quality from the physical domain to information and, more comprehensively, to sustainability. In physical metrology there are well established principles such as fundamental units, precision, accuracy, traceability and uncertainty. In order to understand and define quality for information and sustainability we need to develop metrological concepts similar to those of physical metrology. Research efforts related to information quality (IQ) are scattered. IQ is primarily defined in terms of several characteristics (dimensions) which lack consensus definitions and are sometimes subjective. However, the notion of IQ is currently in practice and has provided some useful insights towards defining formal approaches to IQ. In order to extend the notion of quality to sustainability we need, as in the case of information, a well defined metrology similar to physical metrology. Sustainability is currently getting attention in many areas of human endeavor. One proposal is to measure sustainability in terms of a triple bottom line, namely social, economical and environmental aspects of human endeavor. Sustainability metrics are continuously evolving and their clear definition is fundamental to the understanding of the notion of sustainability quality. After analyzing the current literature, we identify the following needs for characterizing the notion of sustainability quality: a) standardized terminology of terms and concepts, b) metrics and metrology, c) harmonization and extension of standards, d) conformance testbeds for standards and e) development of information models that support sustainability.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7517
Report Number


quality, metrology, sustainability, information quality


Ameta, G. , Rachuri, S. , Fiorentini, X. , Mani, M. , Fenves, S. , Lyons, K. and Sriram, R. (2008), Extending the Notion of Quality from Physical Metrology to Information and Sustainability, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created July 30, 2008, Updated November 10, 2018