Recap of the sixth workshop on Fact-Oriented Modelling: ORM’10

The sixth workshop on Fact-Oriented/Object-Role Modelling (ORM’10) in Hersonissou, Crete, Greece, and co-located with the OTM conference just came to a close after a long session on metamodelling to achieve a standard exchange format for the different ORM tools that are in use and under development (such as NORMA, DocTool, and CaseTalk). The other sessions during these three days were filled with paper presentations and several tool demos, reflecting not only the mixed audience of academia and industry, but also the versatility of fact-oriented modelling. I will illustrate some of that in the remainder of the post. (Note: ORM is a conceptual data modelling language that enjoys a formal foundation, and a graphical interface to draw the diagrams and a textual interface to verbalize the domain knowledge so as to facilitate communication with, and validation by, the domain experts.)

An overview of a novel mapping of ORM2 to DatalogLB was presented by Terry Halpin from LogicBlox and INTI International University [1]. The choice for such a mapping was motivated by the support for rules in Datalog so as to also have a formal foundation and implemented solution for the (derivation) rules one can define in an ORM conceptual data model in the NORMA tool.

Staying with formalisms (but of a different kind and scope), Fazat Nur Azizah from the Bandung Institute of Technology proposed a grammar to specify modelling patterns so that actual patterns can be reused for different conceptual data models—alike software design patterns, but then for the FCO-IM flavour of fact-oriented conceptual data modelling [2].

At the other end of the spectrum were two papers that proposed and assessed the use and benefits of ORM in the setting of understanding natural language text documents. Ron McFadyen from the University of Winnipeg introduced document literacy and ORM [3]. Peter Bollen from Maastricht University showed how ORM can improve the completeness and maintenance of specifications like the Business Process Model and Notation [4], which is in analogy with the WSML-documentation-in-ORM [5] and thereby thus strengthening the case that one indeed can be both more precise and communicative with one’s specification if accompanied by a representation in ORM.

There was a session on Master Data Management (MDM), presented by Baba Piprani from MetaGlobal Systems and Patricia Schiefelbein from Boston Scientific. However, I got a bit sidetracked when Baba Piprani had an interesting quote called the “Helsinki principle”, being

Any meaningful exchange of utterances depends upon the prior existence of an agreed set of semantic and syntactic rules. The recipients of the utterances must use only these rules to interpret the received utterances, if it is to mean the same as that which was meant by the utterer. (ISO TR9007)

whereas I was associating the term “Helsinki principle” with a wholly different story, being the right to self-determination described in the Helsinki accords on security and cooperation in Europe. Now, it happens to be the case that proper MDM contributes to solving semantic mismatches.

Last, there was a session on extensions. Tony Morgan from INTI International University [6] had a go at folding and zooming, presenting an alternative approach to abstraction for large ORM diagram (that is, alternative to [7,8] and the many other proposals outside ORM); it introduced new notations, the code-folding idea for but then for ORM diagrams, and a lightweight algorithm. Yan Tang from STARLab at the Free University of Brussels elaborated on the interaction between semantic decision tables and DOGMA [9] (DOGMA is an approach and tool that reuses ORM notation for ontology engineering). Last, but not least, I presented the paper by Alessandro Artale and myself about the basic constraints for relation migration [10], about which I wrote in an earlier blog post.

To wrap up, the workgroup on the common exchange format for fact-oriented modelling tools—chaired by Serge Valera from the European Space Agency—will continue their work toward standardization, the slides of the presentations will be made available on the ORM Foundation website in these days, and else it is on heading towards the 7th ORM workshop next year somewhere in the Mediterranean.

References

(Unfortunately, at the time of writing, most of the papers are still in the proceedings behind Springer’s paywall)

[1] Terry Halpin, Matthew Curland, Kurt Stirewalt, Navin Viswanath, Matthew McGill, and Steven Beck. Mapping ORM to Datalog: An Overview.
 International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer, LNCS 6428, 504-513.

[2] Fazat Nur Azizah, Guido P. Bakema, Benhard Sitohang, and Oerip S. Santoso. Information Grammar for Patterns (IGP) for Pattern Language of Data Model Patterns Based on Fully Communication Oriented Information Modeling (FCO-IM). International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer, LNCS 6428, 522-531.

[3] Ron McFadyen and Susan Birdwise. Literacy and Data Modeling. International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer,
LNCS 6428, p. 532-540.

[4] Peter Bollen. A Fact-Based Meta Model for Standardization Documents. International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer,
LNCS 6428, p. 464-473.

[5] Tziviskou, C. and Keet, C.M. A Meta-Model for Ontologies with ORM2. Third International Workshop on Object-Role Modelling (ORM’07), Algarve, Portugal, Nov 28-30, 2007. Meersman, R., Tari, Z., Herrero., P. et al. (Eds.), Springer, LNCS 4805, 624-633.

[6] Tony Morgan. A Proposal for Folding in ORM Diagrams. International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer, LNCS 6428, 474-483.

[7] Keet, C.M. Using abstractions to facilitate management of large ORM models and ontologies. International Workshop on Object-Role Modeling (ORM’05). Cyprus, 3-4 November 2005. In: OTM Workshops 2005. Halpin, T., Meersman, R. (eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science LNCS 3762. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2005. pp603-612.

[8] Campbell, L.J., Halpin, T.A. and Proper, H.A.: Conceptual Schemas with Abstractions: Making flat conceptual schemas more comprehensible. Data & Knowledge Engineering (1996) 20(1): 39-85

[9] Yan Tang. Towards Using Semantic Decision Tables for Organizing Data Semantics. International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer, LNCS 6428, 494-503.

[10] Keet, C.M. and Artale, A. A basic characterization of relation migration. International Workshop on Fact-Oriented Modeling (ORM’10), Hersonissou, Greece, October 27-29, 2010. Meersman, R., Herrero, P. (Eds.), OTM Workshops, Springer, LNCS. 6428, 484-493.

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