The modeling process
The modeling process
Each information model is unique, as is the process of developing that model. In this Chapter we provide some broad guidelines to assist you in creating a quality model. We are basically recommending a policy of progressive refinement when modeling but the actual process usually turns out to be iterative. So, although one might start out with good intentions of using a top-down approach, one often ends up with a mixture of top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out strategies. The recommendations are principally cast in the form of check lists and give a skeleton outline of the process. Chapter 4 provides a complete worked example which puts some flesh on the bones. An information model may be created by a single person, given sufficient knowledge, or preferably and more likely by a team of people. An information model represents some portion of the real world. In order to produce such a model an obvious requirement is knowledge of the particular real world aspects that are of interest. People with this knowledge are called domain experts. The other side of the coin is that knowledge of information modeling is required in order to develop an information model. These people are called modeling experts. Typically, the domain experts are not conversant with information modeling and the modeling experts are not conversant with the subject. Hence the usual need for at least two parties to join forces. Together the domain and modeling experts can produce an information model that satisfies their own requirements. However, an information model is typically meant to be used by a larger audience than just its creators. There is a need to communicate the model to those who may not have the skills and knowledge to create such a model but who do have the background to utilize it. Thus the requirement for a third group to review the model during its formative stages to ensure that it is understandable by the target audience. This is the review team who act somewhat like the editors in a publishing house, or like friendly quality control inspectors.
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