Improving the semantics of conceptual-modeling grammars: A new perspective on an old problem

Roger Clarke, Andrew Nicholas Burton-Jones, Ronald Weber

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    A core activity in information systems development involves understanding the conceptual model of the domain that the information system supports. Any conceptual model is ultimately created using a conceptual-modeling (CM) grammar. Accordingly, just as high quality conceptual models facilitate high quality systems development, high quality CM grammars facilitate high quality conceptual modeling. This paper seeks to provide a new perspective on improving the quality of CM grammar semantics. For the past twenty years, the leading approach to this topic has drawn on ontological theory. However, the ontological approach captures just half of the story. It needs to be coupled with a logical approach. We show how ontological quality and logical quality interrelate and we outline three contributions of a logical approach: the ability to see familiar conceptual-modeling problems in simpler ways, the illumination of new problems, and the ability to prove the benefit of modifying CM grammars.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of Thirty-Fourth International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2013)
    Subtitle of host publication15-18 December, 2013, Milan, Italy
    EditorsRichard Baskerville, Michael Chau
    Place of PublicationAtlanta GA USA
    PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9780615933832
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventInternational Conference on Information Systems 2013 - Milan, Italy
    Duration: 15 Dec 201318 Dec 2013
    Conference number: 34th


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Information Systems 2013
    Abbreviated titleICIS 2013
    OtherThe conference theme, "Reshaping Society through Information Systems Design," is intended to promote the development of new knowledge about how the design of information systems is affecting our societies on a scale that ranges from small social groups to the collectives of national and global society.
    Internet address


    • Conceptual modeling
    • Logic
    • Ontology
    • Semantics

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