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We are a team of 2 developing a web application. It allows scientists to upload files with measurement data. My question is about how we should name one kind of metadata.

An uploaded file might be the output of some measurement instrument or some scientific model. Both types are connected to some higher level element:

  • instruments are loaded onto platforms which might be ships or airplanes transporting them during the measurement
  • models are distinguished by their model type

Now we'll have lists and database tables with both of them. The lower level element we call data source because it's just the very entity producing the data.

Can you think of any reasonable name for something which might be a platform or a model type?

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closed as off topic by Mahnax, Hellion, slim, Matt E. Эллен, FumbleFingers Feb 9 '12 at 22:43

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Why downvoted? I may improve question as you like if you'd comment what's wrong in your opinion. – Daniel Böhmer Feb 9 '12 at 18:05
Wasn't me who downvoted, but my guess it's because this can strike the reader as off-topic. Have you read this part of the FAQ? – yoozer8 Feb 9 '12 at 18:07
I closevoted because it's too localised. This is just another case where someone with a particular app in mind wants a single word to encompass two or more entities which are normally disparate to most native speakers. ELU shouldn't be treated as a "name that function/variable" service. – FumbleFingers Feb 9 '12 at 22:46

Because platform and model type are not obviously parallel in class or meaning, there may be no perfectly suitable word to use as the heading for a platform-or-model-type-specification column. Generically, subcategory may be as accurate as one can get.

Some of the terms italicized below may suggest applicable headings.

  • carrier - A platform or a model-type is like a medium or modality or milieu or deliverer for an instrument or model.
  • genus, species, taxon - Some variation of biological classification schema may work
  • class, category, genre; and sub- forms of same
  • device, mechanism
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Category is what we've in planning until now. Nice suggestions! I'll discuss that with my coworker. Thanks so far. – Daniel Böhmer Feb 9 '12 at 18:46

Supertype comes to mind but as jwpat7 said the two aren't analogous, so any one word is going to be necessarily vague.

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