Software & Systems Modeling

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 871–889 | Cite as

Guidelines for representing complex cardinality constraints in binary and ternary relationships

  • Dolores Cuadra
  • Paloma Martínez
  • Elena Castro
  • Harith Al-Jumaily
Regular Paper


Ternary relationships represent the association among three entities whose constraints database designers do not always know how to manage. In other words, it is very difficult for the designer to detect, represent and add constraints in a ternary relationship according to the domain requirements. To remedy the shortcomings in capturing the semantics required for the representation of this kind of relationship, the present paper discusses a practical method to motivate the designer’s use of ternary relationships in a methodological framework. The method shows how to calculate cardinality constraints in binary and ternary relationships and to preserve the associated semantics until the implementation phase of the database development method.


Ternary associations Conceptual models Logical models Model transformations Database methodology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dolores Cuadra
    • 1
  • Paloma Martínez
    • 1
  • Elena Castro
    • 1
  • Harith Al-Jumaily
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentCarlos III University of MadridLeganésSpain

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