Universal Patterns for Data Modeling: A Structural Theme

by Arlyn R
Authors Len Silverston and Paul Agnew (2009) of “What are Universal Patterns for Data Modeling?” explain how patterns can enhance data models. The authors equate Universal Patterns for Data Modeling to the schematics of a suspension bridge. Although bridge exteriors may differ, the majority of suspension bridges interior construction patterns are designed the same. Silverston and Agnew describe a data modeling pattern “as a template that can serve as a guide for developing data models.” The authors also briefly explain universal data models and how they are reusable data models for common business rules. So instead of re-inventing the wheel, database designers can reuse models that are fundamental to an industry. In contrast, “Universal Patterns in Data Modeling provide the underlying structural themes so that the modelers can reuse these to build any model (Silverston, Agnew).” Therefore, Universal Patterns can be applied to any data model and improve upon a generic Universal Data Model. Silverston and Agnew find that Universal Patterns benefit organizations by constructing upon a universal data model that has proven essential to its industry while utilizing resources towards the specifics of its business.

The co-author, Len Silverston, was referenced in the universal data model section within chapter three of our textbook. The textbook explains universal data models as a starting point for modeling. Organizations within an industry can have many common business rules. Thus, universal data models streamline modeling efforts contributing to a more efficient modeling of the database. The article provides good examples of how Universal Patterns help expand upon universal data models and the business requirements shared within industries. Universal Patterns exposes themes that are ubiquitous in data modeling.

Universal data models prove useful for saving time and effort in the fundamental components of a data model. However, I know that it is not a replacement for constructing an ERD since universal data models cannot be applied without thorough understanding of modeling as well as the organization’s business rules. This article on Universal Patterns for Data Modeling is relevant in more than just the topic of data modeling but the importance of learning the underlying theme of a subject. In reference to ERD, figuring out the patterns in the associations between entities helps me in developing the diagram. In a more abstract thought, patterns exist in everything we encounter and to facilitate deep understanding and knowledge in any subject matter is to uncover its underlying theme.

Silverston, L., & Agnew, P. (2009, February 11). What are Universal Patterns for Data Modeling?. Retrieved from http://www.universaldatamodels.com/Portals/9/udm_Publications_Article_Universal_PatternsforDataModeling_Beye_ Newsletter.pdf. Retrieved on October 12, 2012.

One thought on “Universal Patterns for Data Modeling: A Structural Theme

  • October 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Very good selection of article, closely relevant to the universal packaged data model we learned in Chapter 3. Universal data models can substantially reduce the time to complete a corporate data model, logical data model or data warehouse design. They can lead to higher quality designs by identifying subtleties that may be overlooked. A relevant article at http://www.tdan.com/view-articles/5271/ used specific examples to illustrate that universal data models can be effectively applied to diverse types of enterprises.

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