David C. Hay, Essential Strategies International
“Ontology” is the world’s first 2300 year-old hot new buzzword. As a branch of ancient Greek philosophy, it was “the study of what exists”. In modern times it is A catalog of the types of things that are assumed to exist – in a domain of interest, with rules governing how the terms describing them can be combined to make valid statements and “sanctioned inferences”.
This tutorial presents just such an ontology. In this case, it is in the form of a data model that represents not a database, but the standard structures that exist in any enterprise (or government agency). This is based on Mr. Hay’s book, Enterprise Model Patterns: Describing the World. It is organized into four levels of abstraction:
Level 1: a generic enterprise model
This describes the fundamental structures for people and organizations, geographic locations, physical assets, activities and events, and time.
Level 0: a template and some metadata
This is the thing and thing type model that provides a template for the first four of the level 1 model segments. It also includes two “meta” models: accounting is in fact a model of the whole enterprise, so it has to be addressed in a different way; documents are assets, but they are distinctive in that each is in fact about something else in the enterprise model. This calls for a particularly arcane modeling approach.
Level 2: functional areas
These are model segments constructed from Level 1 segments:
- Human Resources
- Marketing and Communications
- The Laboratory
Level 3: industry specializations
These are model segments, also constructed from Level 1 (and now Level 2) segments that specifically describe particular industries:
- Criminal Justice
- Banking and Finance
- Oil Exploration
- Highway Design
A veteran of the Information Industry since the days of punched cards, paper tape, and teletype machines, Dave Hay has been producing data models to support strategic information planning and requirements analysis for over thirty years. He has worked in a variety of industries, including, among others, power generation, clinical pharmaceutical research, oil refining, banking, and broadcast. He is President of Essential Strategies International, a consulting firm dedicated to helping clients define corporate information architecture, identify requirements, and plan strategies for the implementation of new systems.
Mr. Hay is the author of the book, Data Model Patterns: Conventions of Thought, Requirements Analysis: From Business Views to Architecture, and Data Model Patterns: A Metadata Map.
Most recently, he wrote Enterprise Model Patterns: Describing the World, and UML and Data Modeling: A Reconciliation, both published by Technics Publications.
Mr. Hay has spoken numerous times to “The Data Modeling Zone”, annual DAMA International Conferences (both in the United States and overseas), annual conferences for various Oracle user groups, and numerous local chapters of both data administration and database management system groups.
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 464-8316. Many of his works can be found at http://articles.essentialstrategies.com.