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Eller College Home > Faculty and Research > Research Buzz > A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Research Buzz

Sudha Ram
Faiz Currim


  • database design
  • conceptual modeling
  • MIS


A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Modeling Spatial and Temporal Set-Based Constraints During Conceptual Database Design

When designing databases (and information systems in general), there are a number of business rules that do not find their way into the conceptual design. Instead, these are left to be programmed in during implementation. The authors believe that it is important to encapsulate business rules at the conceptual design phase, that the earlier modeling allows for reduction of errors later, and that productivity gains when the modeled rules are implemented.

One of the reasons rules are not modeled is because there is no standardized method of annotating conceptual models with business rules. Their work provides a framework for modeling an important subset of spatio-temporal business constraints.

They formally specify the semantics of each type of constraint and also evaluate the framework for expressiveness and usefulness with a case study. Using this classification scheme, a database analyst can elicit requirements in a structured manner (reducing the likelihood of missed constraints; significant any time a policy is critical to the business function or integrity of the system), improve her understanding of the nature of the constraints, and specify precise rules which can then be translated into logical design constraints in an automated fashion for productivity gains.


Sudha Ram is the McClelland Professor of MIS and Faiz Currim is a senior lecturer in MIS at the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona.

Publication Source

Published in Information Systems Research.

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