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by David Hay

Adapted from Data Model Patterns. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. See below for copyright notice.

Learning the basics of a modeling technique is not the same as learning how to use and apply it. Data modeling is particularly complex to learn, because it requires the modeler to gain insights into an organization's nature that do not come easily. For example, an analyst may be expected to come into an organization and immediately understand subtleties about its structure that may have evaded people who have worked there for years.

This book is intended to help those analysts who have learned the basics of data modeling, but who are looking for help in discovering subtleties and in obtaining the insights required to prepare a good model of a real business. Moreover, the book is intended to help analysts produce models that are easier to read, by virtue of standards of diagram structure and organization.

The book is based on the assumption that the underlying structures of enterprises are similar, or at least that they have similar components. Understanding those similarities gives an analyst a starting model, which can then be massaged and adjusted as necessary to match the specific circumstances of a particular company. This is not to say that all companies' models will look the same. Quite the opposite is true. In your author's experience, no two organizations' models have been identical. On the other hand, widely differing organizations, from government health protection agencies to oil refineries, have many similar components.

An analyst who has these components in his intellectual tool kit is in a good position to grasp quickly what is unique about an enterprise and to draw a data model that both embodies universal truths and specifically represents the business at hand.

This book has a second audience as well: As a child of the Sixties, I got into the business world only reluctantly. Among the problems I faced was understanding just how business works. Even in business school, I was never able to find an introductory-level course that described how it works as a whole. Each course analyzed a specific area in detail, but none really provided the overview I sought. It was only as I saw the patterns expressed in the structure of business information that a business uses, that I began to come to grips with the issues involved. Perhaps this book can be useful to a similarly disadvantaged student trying to understand the nature of the business world.

April 1995


Houston, Texas

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This excerpt from Data Model Patterns [ISBN:978-0-932633-74-3] appears by permission of Dorset House Publishing. Copyright © 1996 by David C. Hay. All rights reserved. See http://www.dorsethouse.com/books/dmp.html. The material contained in this file may be shared for noncommercial purposes only, nonexclusively, provided that this Copyright Notice always appears with it. This material may not be combined with advertisements, online or in print, without explicit permission from Dorset House Publishing. For copies of the printed book or for permissions, contact Dorset House Publishing, 1-800-342-6657, 212-620-4053, http://www.dorsethouse.com, info@dorsethouse.com, New: 3143 Broadway, Suite 2B, New York, NY 10027 USA. Additional rights limitations apply, as presented in the Legal Disclaimer posted at http://www.dorsethouse.com/legal.html.



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