About Ontologies – the Foundation of Data Modeling

Peer M. Carlson, Dörffler & Partner GmbH

In a lot of texts and talks about Data Modeling, a reference is given to the concept of Ontologies, whereas a further explanation of this notion is often missing. This presentation aims to reduce the knowledge gap of those who want to learn more about the theoretical background of Ontologies, to discover the interdisciplinary relationships in this area, and to understand how modern Business Intelligence/Data Warehouse systems benefit from applying ontological ideas.

The first part of the presentation briefly introduces the Ontology from a philosophical point of view – the study of being and existence in the world and the interrelationships of objects. In the second part, the focus lies on Ontologies in the field of Information Science as a formal specification of a conceptualization – and furthermore, as a particular example, on Ontologies in the context of the Semantic Web. Finally, the third part will show how Ontologies serve as the foundation of Data Modeling – particularly Data Vault – and how they facilitate the processing of unstructured data.


Peer M. Carlson is a Business Intelligence Consultant at Dörffler & Partner GmbH, Germany. He has been working on several Data Warehouse projects, mainly in the field of Microsoft SQL Server as well as Teradata. He has a lot of experience in Data Modeling, the Data Vault methodology, ETL process design and an in-depth knowledge of BI/DW architectures. Peer is a certified BI Expert (TDWI Europe) and a Certified Data Vault 2.0 Practitioner, and he holds a university degree in Computer Science with focus on Business Information Systems.

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