The folks involved with EuroFiling have come up with an interesting idea called the "data points model" approach to modeling information in XBRL. As far as I know, this web page has a bunch of information relating to this approach. I sat through a presentation which explained the data points model approach and this is what I understood.
Basically, there are three important pieces to this idea:
- Base item: The base item is the concept of that fact.
- Breakdown: The breakdown an [Axis] or dimension of that item.
- Data point: A data point is a reported fact or a "cell in a template".
So for example, base items might be something like: assets, liabilities, equity, revenues, expenses, gains, losses, transfers to owners, transfers from owners.
For the base item "assets", the breakdown might be cash and cash equivalents; receivables; property, plant and equipment, and so forth.
It appears that the goal of this approach is to achieve better flexibility in using the information and understanding facts which go together with other facts.
As part of this approach a "table linkbase" is created. This piece I don't quite get yet. What I do get is that no off the shelf software supports this table linkbase and it is not a global standard approach.
This data points model approach is worth watching. I wish they would better explain this and provide prototypes so one can better evaluate the pros and cons of the approach.