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Conceptual Data Modeling: Entity?Relationship Models as Thinging Machines


Sabah Al-Fedaghi


Vol. 21  No. 9  pp. 247-260


Data modeling is a process of developing a model to design and develop a data system that supports an organization’s various business processes. A conceptual data model represents a technology-independent specification of structure of data to be stored within a database. The model aims to provide richer expressiveness and incorporate a set of semantics to (a) support the design, control, and integrity parts of the data stored in data management structures and (b) coordinate the viewing of connections and ideas on a database. The described structure of the data is often represented in an entity?relationship (ER) model, which was one of the first data-modeling techniques and is likely to continue to be a popular way of characterizing entity classes, attributes, and relationships. This paper attempts to examine the basic ER modeling notions in order to analyze the concepts to which they refer as well as ways to represent them. In such a mission, we apply a new modeling methodology (thinging machine; TM) to ER in terms of its fundamental building constructs, representation entities, relationships, and attributes. The goal of this venture is to further the understanding of data models and enrich their semantics. Three specific contributions to modeling in this context are incorporated: (a) using the TM model’s five generic actions to inject processing in the ER structure; (b) relating the single ontological element of TM modeling (i.e., a thing/machine or thimac) to ER entities and relationships; and (c) proposing a high-level integrated, extended ER model that includes structural and time-oriented notions (e.g., events or behavior).


.Conceptual modeling, entity?relationship diagrams, relational databases, thinging machine model