On the deep structure of information systems

Yair Wand, Ron Weber

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436 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract. The deep structure of an information system comprises those properties that manifest the meaning of the real‐world system the information system is intended to model. In this paper we describe three models we have developed of information systems' deep‐structure properties. The first, the representational model, proposes a set of constructs that enable the ontological expressiveness of grammars used to model information systems (such as the entity‐relationship model) to be evaluated. The second, the state‐tracking model, proposes four requirements that information systems must satisfy if they are to faithfully track the real‐world system they are intended to model. The third, the good‐decomposition model, proposes three necessary conditions that information systems must meet if they are to be well decomposed. The three models provide a theoretically based, structured way of evaluating grammars that are used to analyse, design and implement information systems and scripts that have been generated using these grammars to describe specific information systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-223
Number of pages21
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • analysis and design
  • decomposition
  • formal models
  • ontology
  • representation
  • state tracking

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