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Why conceptual data modeling?

Data modeling has a long tradition and is still very important today. Data modeling has become popular at the beginning of the 1970´s when databases entered the software market, and data were no longer designed according to an application´s needs and stored in separate files.

Since that time data were considered as a resource that has to be designed with care in a data modeling process. Today, data modeling has become a very essential activity within the life cycle of integrated information systems, especially in the context of shared applications.

Data modeling is typically done in three phases (see Figure 1):

  • conceptual (or semantic)[1] design
  • logical design, and
  • physical (or technical) design.

Phases of database design

                                        Figure 1: Phases of database design

The deliverables of these phases are the conceptual (or semantic) data model[2], the logical data model, and the physical data model, respectively. The most important model, however, is the conceptual data model. It is the basis for the derivation of the two other data models.

The objective of conceptual data modeling is to describe data structures in terms of entity types, relationship types and attributes or classes, associations and attributes, if object-oriented data modeling techniques are applied. The focus is on semantics, technological or implementation details are out of scope.

In my following articles I want to describe the ER model types that are available in ARIS and to bring out the differences between these model types.

[1] The terms “conceptual“ and “semantic“ are used as synonyms.

[2] The term “schema” is often used as a synonym for “data model”.

by Eva Klein
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Posted on Wed, 01/02/2013 - 06:55

Hi Tim,

feel free to use the picture on the Dutch wikiversity. If you want I can send you the picture via email.



by Roland Kment
Posted on Tue, 01/08/2013 - 14:16

Hi Eva,

i am playing around with conceptual data modelling for some time now trying to get away from an almost complete technical (logical) Entity Relationship Model.

I finally concluded to stop using the ERM or IE Data Model as it steers (IT) expectations into the wrong direction. Today i use the technical term models to model a "mind map-like" concept of business data.

One of the key aspects for me was to find the key data elements of the company that act as "source" for data/attributes and the use/re-use of attributes as well building the relationship of these key data elements.

Looking forward to see your ideas!




by Tim Ruijters
Posted on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 23:01

@Eva To use it on the wikiversity I need your formal permission. If you can send me the picture, I will send you the e-mail.



by Catherine Wolf
Posted on Fri, 08/09/2013 - 17:44

Hello Ms Klein,

I would also like to use this image for a conceptual model brainstorming session I'm holding with my project team.  My email is  May I have your permission to use it?



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