A novel approach in organizing product data and managing product information in collaborative product design and development environments is presented. Domains of product data and information are first discussed in the context of generic models of product development process and product design process. An approach called the Product Information Management System (PRIMAS) for organizing and managing product information is subsequently described. In the system, product data is organized in a genome-like relational database (PRIMAS-DB), comprising a matrix of two categories of factors, namely, the Information Fields and the Product Constituents. The Information Fields consist of four generic domains for organizing information for the various activities represented as Product Constituents. The operational model and architecture of PRIMAS are presented. Development of a prototype for PRIMAS and plan for further work are described.

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