"A pattern is a named nugget of insight that conveys the essence of a proven solution to a recurring problem within a certain context." (from Patterns and Software: Essential Concepts and Terminology, by Brad Appleton) 2000 http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/docs/patterns-intro.html
“Many patterns form a language. Just as words must have grammatical and semantic relationships to each other in order to make a spoken language useful, design patterns must be related to each other in order to form a pattern language.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_language
For example, a pattern language for commons governance will be a structured method of describing practices worth replicating in different areas and phases of governance work.
Pattern language can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of such functions as: scanning international efforts relevant to a complex issue at hand; building community knowledge gardens, also known as “dynamic knowledge repositories.” (Engelbart, 1992)
It can serve the commons as an interface that connects practitioners, experts, and civil society organizations, and also, as a key resource to work through issues in any domain, in workshops, conferences, unconferences, and online forums.
- A Pattern Language – book by Christopher Alexander