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Requirements Engineering

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 146–160 | Cite as

Ontology based object-oriented domain modelling: fundamental concepts

  • Joerg Evermann
  • Yair Wand
Original Article

Abstract

Understanding the business is an important step in information system (IS) development. Conceptual models are descriptions of the organizational context for which a system is developed, and are used to help understanding this context. However, conceptual modelling methods do not provide well-formalized ways to create domain descriptions. On the other hand, in the area of IS design and software modelling, languages exist (such as UML) that possess a high level of formality. Extending the use of these IS design languages to conceptual modelling, even though they have not been specifically intended for this, can lead to several advantages. In particular, it can enable the use of similar notation in several stages of system development. However, while object-oriented constructs such as “object” and “operation” have clear meaning in the context of software design, it is not clear what they might mean in terms of the application domain, and no rules or guidelines exist for using them to create useful descriptions of such domains. This paper suggests specific semantics for object-oriented constructs based on a mapping between ontologically derived concepts and object-oriented language constructs. The paper also proposes modelling rules to guide the construction of object-oriented conceptual models and to assure that such models describe only ontologically feasible application domain situations. While the results are applicable to object-oriented constructs in general, UML is used as an example. A case study to test the use of the proposed semantics and modelling rules is described.

Keywords

Object-oriented modelling System analysis Business analysis UML Ontology 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information ManagementVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.The Sauder School of BusinessThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.MIS Department, School of Social SciencesHaifa UniversityHaifaIsrael

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