IRIS Research Publications


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Journal

A.H.M. ter Hofstede, H.A. (Erik) Proper, and Th.P. van der Weide. Query formulation as an information retrieval problem. In: The Computer Journal, Nr: 4, Vol: 39, Pages: 255-274, September, 1996.

Query formulation in the context of large conceptual schemata is known to be a hard problem. When formulating ad-hoc queries users may become overwhelmed by the vast amount of information that is stored in the information system; leading to a feeling of lost in conceptual space. In this article we develop a strategy to cope with this problem. This strategy is based on ideas from the information retrieval world. In particular the query by navigation mechanism and the stratified hypermedia architecture. The stratified hypermedia architecture is used to describe the information contained in the information system on multiple levels of abstraction.

When using our approach to the formulation of queries, a user will first formulate a number of simple queries corresponding to linear paths through the information structure. The formulation of the linear paths is the result of the explorative phase of query formulation. Once users have specified a number of these linear paths, they may combine them to form more complex queries. This last process is referred to as query by construction, and corresponds to the constructive phase of the query formulation process.

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A.H.M. ter Hofstede, E. Lippe, and P.J.M. Frederiks. Conceptual Data Modeling from a Categorical Perspective. In: The Computer Journal, Nr: 3, Vol: 39, Pages: 215-231, August, 1996.

For successful information systems development, conceptual data modeling is essential. Nowadays many techniques for conceptual data modeling exist. In-depth comparisons of concepts of these techniques are very difficult as the mathematical formalizations of these techniques, if they exist at all, are very different. As such there is a need for a unifying formal framework providing a sufficiently high level of abstraction. In this paper the use of category theory for this purpose is addressed. Well-known conceptual data modeling concepts, such as relationship types, generalization, specialization, collection types, and constraint types, such as the total role constraint and the uniqueness constraint, are discussed from a categorical point of view. An important advantage of this framework is its ``configurable semantics''. Features such as null values, uncertainty, and temporal behavior can be added by selecting appropriate instance categories. The addition of these features usually requires a complete redesign of the formalization in traditional set-based approaches to semantics.

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A.H.M. ter Hofstede, and T.F. Verhoef. Meta-CASE: Is the Game worth the Candle?. In: Information Systems Journal, Nr: 1, Vol: 6, Pages: 41-68, 1996.

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E. Lippe, and A.H.M. ter Hofstede. A Category Theory Approach to Conceptual Data Modeling. In: RAIRO Theoretical Informatics and Applications, Nr: 1, Vol: 30, Pages: 31-79, 1996.

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

Flat graphical, conceptual modeling techniques are widely accepted as visually effective ways in which to specify and communicate the conceptual data requirements of an information system. Conceptual schema diagrams provide modelers with a picture of the salient structures underlying the modeled universe of discourse, in a form that can readily be understood by and communicated to users, programmers and managers. When complexity and size of applications increase, however, the success of these techniques in terms of comprehensibility and communicability deteriorates rapidly.

This paper proposes a method to offset this deterioration, by adding abstraction layers to flat conceptual schemas. We present an algorithm to recursively derive higher levels of abstraction from a given (flat) conceptual schema. The driving force of this algorithm is a hierarchy of conceptual importance among the elements of the universe of discourse.

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A.I. Bleeker. Informatie zoeken op inhoud: de volgende stap In Dutch. In: NGI Magazine, Nr: 6, Vol: 12, Pages: 15-16, June, Nederlands Genootschap voor Informatica, 1996.

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P. van Bommel, P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. Object-Oriented Modeling based on Logbooks. In: The Computer Journal, Nr: 9, Vol: 39, Pages: 793-799, 1996.

In this paper the notion of `logbook' is introduced as a common basis for various models to be produced during system analysis. A logbook has a unifying format which contains a complete description of the history of some Universe of Discourse. It is intended as a structuring mechanism for initial specifications based on natural language. A typing mechanism is provided as an abstraction mechanism for logbook instances, leading to object oriented analysis models.

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P.N. Creasy, and H.A. (Erik) Proper. A Generic Model for 3-Dimensional Conceptual Modelling. In: Data & Knowledge Engineering, Nr: 2, Vol: 20, Pages: 119-162, 1996.

This article discusses two highly intertwined issues. Firstly, we discuss the lack of top-down abstraction mechanisms in data modelling techniques; i.e. abstraction techniques that are fully integrated into the modelling technique and methodology and not just a `post-modelling process' add on. Secondly, we are concerned with the integration of object-oriented modelling techniques and traditional data modelling techniques.

We start by discussing the pragmatics and motivations behind these issues. Then a formalisation of (the syntax and semantics of) a data modelling technique is presented that is a generalisation of (E)ER and ORM, and also adheres to the requirements of an object-oriented technique as laid down in the object-oriented manifesto. The result of this exercise is the so-called CDM Kernel. Furthermore, we briefly show how (E)ER, ORM and object-oriented views can be derived from models in the CDM Kernel. This effectively means that the CDM Kernel equates (E)ER, ORM and (some) object-oriented models.

Finally, we briefly discuss some practical issues on the use of the facilities offered by the CDM Kernel in terms of modelling practice and tool support. A generalised conceptual modelling kernel will be very beneficial in the context of CASE Tool and in the context of federated database (information) systems.

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Book

Proceedings of the IFIP TC8 WG8.1/8.2 Working Conference on Method Engineering. Edited by: S. Brinkkemper, K. Lyytinen, and R.J. Welke. August, Chapman & Hall, London, United Kingdom, EU, 1996.

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M.-J. Nederhof, and J.J. Sarbo. Increasing the applicability of LR-parsing. In: Recent Advances in Parsing Technology, Edited by: H. Bunt, and M. Tomita. Pages: 35-58, Kluwer, Deventer, The Netherlands, EU, 1996, ISBN 079234152X.

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Conference

F.C. Berger, A.H.M. ter Hofstede, and Th.P. van der Weide. Supporting Query by Navigation. In: Information retrieval: New systems and current research, Proceedings of the 16th Research Colloquium of the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialists Group, Edited by: R. Leon. Pages: 26-46, Taylor Graham, Drymen, United Kingdom, EU, 1996.

In this paper we study hypertext systems from a very general point of view, and focus on monitoring the searcher's behaviour. The intention of this monitoring is to give a prediction of the estimation of the ultimate goal of the searcher, and an estimation of the searcher's determination in finding this goal. The latter might be negatively influenced by unfamiliarity of the searcher with either the information contents or the system. It is shown how these estimations can be used to support the searcher during the searching process. Furthermore, the derivation of a relevance function for documents is introduced, based on these estimations. An example is provided to motivate the approach chosen.

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T.W.C. Huibers, and P.D. Bruza. Situations: A general framework for studying Information Retrieval. In: Information retrieval: New systems and current research, Proceedings of the 16th Research Colloquium of the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialists Group, Edited by: R. Leon. Pages: 3-25, Taylor Graham, Drymen, United Kingdom, EU, 1996.

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C.F. Derksen, P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. Paraphrasing as a Technique to Support Object-Oriented Analysis. In: Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Applications of Natural Language to Databases (NLDB`96), Edited by: R.P. van der Riet, J.F.M. Burg, and A.J. van der Vos. Pages: 28-39, June, 1996.

The goal of the information analysis process is to derive the information grammar which describes the communication language within some application domain. This process involves both domain experts and system analysts. Since good communication between these two partners is essential, a proper common language should be chosen. Natural language seems to be a good candidate for this purpose. Two essential activities of the analysis process are modeling the application domain, and validating the resulting models. In this paper the focus is on validation. We consider object-oriented analysis models and paraphrase them by sentences in natural language. The paraphrasing process is automatically supported by the Grammar Workbench using the AGFL formalism to describe the information grammar. This results in a prototype for paraphrasing analysis models.

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F.C. Berger, and P. van Bommel. Personalized Search Support for Networked Document Retrieval Using Link Inference. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference DEXA`96 on Data Base and Expert System Applications, Zurich, Switzerland, Edited by: R.R. Wagner, and H. Thoma. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol: 1134, Pages: 802-811, September, Springer, 1996.

Constructing a query consisting of a set of terms or descriptors is often an iterative process. To the user, the starting query and the final result could be strongly related. These two queries could even be worthy of a link between them. This paper presents a method for deciding when a link between two descriptors is justified. The decision hinges on the way in which the user has moved from one to the other. In order to allow for users with different levels of experience and different backgrounds, we introduce a number of parameters with which the inference process can be controlled.

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A.H.M. ter Hofstede, H.A. (Erik) Proper, and Th.P. van der Weide. Exploring Fact Verbalisations for Conceptual Query Formulation. In: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Applications of Natural Language to Databases (NLDB`96), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EU, Edited by: R.P. van der Riet, J.F.M. Burg, and A.J. van der Vos. Pages: 40-51, June, IOS Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EU, 1996, ISBN 9051992734.

An increasing number of conceptual modelling techniques use verbalisation of sample data to derive a model for the given universe of discourse (the problem domain). The underlying assumption is that by elaborate verbalisation of samples taken from the universe of discourse one can elicit an overview of the concepts relevant for the universe of discourse and their interrelationships. In each of these approaches, information modelling is considered as a process leading to some form of an information grammar that describes the expert language; the language used to communicate in the universe of discourse.

In this article we start by discussing a mechanism to support these verbalisations and associated information grammar. We then show how to mine the richness of the verbalisations in the context of a conceptual query language. It is shown how these verbalisations lead to formulations that closely resemble the expert language.

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J.W.G.M. Hubbers, and A.H.M. ter Hofstede. An Algebraic Semantics for Object-Oriented Behaviour Modeling. In: Proceedings 1996 Australian Software Engineering Conference, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Edited by: Paul A. Bailes. Pages: 4-15, July, IEEE, Los Alamitos, California, USA, 1996.

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T.W.C. Huibers, I. Ounis, and J.-P. Chevallet. Conceptual Graph Aboutness. In: Conceptual Structures: Knowledge Representation as Interlingua, Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Conceptual Structures, ICCS`96, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Edited by: P.W. Eklund, G. Ellis, and G. Mann. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Vol: 1115, Pages: 130-144, August, Springer, 1996, Subseries of Lecture Notes in Computer Science.

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J.J. Sarbo. Lattice embedding. In: Conceptual Structures: Knowledge Representation as Interlingua (ICCS`96), Edited by: P.W. Eklund, G. Ellis, and G. Mann. Vol: 1115, Pages: 293-307, Springer, 1996.

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B.C.M. Wondergem, W. van der Hoek, T.W.C. Huibers, and C. Witteveen. Preferential Semantics for Query by Navigation. In: Proceedings of the Conferentie Informatiewetenschap (CIW`96), Edited by: K. van der Meer. Pages: 153-168, December, 1996.

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Reports

P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. Properties and Design of Information Architectures. Technical report, February, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

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A.P. Barros, A.H.M. ter Hofstede, H.A. (Erik) Proper, and P.N. Creasy. Business Suitability Principles for Workflow Modelling. Technical report, August, Department of Computer Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1996.

By incorporating aspects of coordination and collaboration, workflow implementations of in-formation systems require a sound conceptualisation of business processing semantics. Traditionally, the success of conceptual modelling techniques has depended largely on the adequacy of conceptualisation, expressive power, comprehensibility and formal foundation. An equally important requirement, particularly with the increased conceptualisation of business aspects, is business suitability.

In this paper, the focus is on the business suitability of workflow modelling for a commonly encountered class of (operational) business processing, e.g. those of insurance claims, bank loans and land conveyancing. A general assessment is first conducted on some integrated techniques characterising well-known paradigms - structured process modelling, object-oriented modelling, behavioural process modelling and business-oriented modelling. Through this, an insight into busi-ness suitability within the broader perspective of technique adequacy, is gained. A specific business suitability diagnosis then follows using a particular characterisation of business processing, i.e. one where the intuitive semantics and inter-relationship of business services and business processes are nuanced. As a result, five business suitability principles are elicited. These are proposed for a more detailed understanding and (synthetic) development of workflow modelling techniques. Accordingly, further insight into workflow specification languages and workflow globalisation in open distributed architectures may also be gained.

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A.P. Barros, A.H.M. ter Hofstede, and H.A. (Erik) Proper. Towards an Integrated Conceptual Modelling Kernel for Business Transaction Workflows. Technical report, November, Department of Computer Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1996.

The focus of the paper is on the extension of conceptual workflow modelling techniques for business suitability. Of course, to speak of a general business suitability is vague since there are many types of organisations and many types of business processing. Therefore, particular attention is drawn to a specific type of (operational) business processing which exhibits precise execution paths. As examples, the processing of insurance claims, bank loans and land conveyancing, are mission-critical in nature and are rarely undertaken without strict operational procedure. Also, multiple interactions with clients and external organisations are typically needed to fulfill service requests.

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P.D. Bruza, and H.A. (Erik) Proper. Discovering the Information that is lost in our Databases - Why bother storing data if you can`t find the information?. Technical report, Distributed Systems Technology Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1996.

We are surrounded by an ever increasing amount of data that is stored in a variety of databases. In this article we will use a very liberal definition of database. Basically any collection of data can be regarded as a database, ranging from the files in a directory on a disk, to ftp and web servers, through to relational or object-oriented databases.

The sole reason for storing data in databases is that there is an anticipated need for the stored data at some time in the future. This means that providing smooth access paths by which stored information can be retrieved is at least as important as ensuring integrity of the stored information. In practice, however, providing users with adequate avenues by which to access stored information has received far less attention.

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P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. Cognitive Requirements for Natural Language Based Conceptual Modeling. Technical report: CSI-R9610, June, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

In this paper we discuss the consequences of a natural language based modeling process for those who are involved in this process, i.e. domain experts and system analysts. For both domain experts and system analysts the cognitive requirements in a natural language based conceptual modeling process are presented as axiom-like requirements.

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P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. Deriving an Information Grammar using Object-oriented Analysis Models. Technical report, Information Systems Group, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

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P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. Fundamentals for Object-Oriented Analysis. Technical report, November, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

In this paper the focus is on object-oriented analysis of information systems. We assume that the communication within an application domain can be described by a logbook of events. In our view, the purpose of the analysis phase is to model the structure of this logbook. The resulting conceptual model is referred to as the information architecture, and is an integration of three formal object-oriented analysis models with each a specific view on the application domain. Furthermore, the information architecture forms an abstraction of an underlying grammar, called the information grammar, for the communication within the application domain. This grammar can be used to validate the information architecture in a textual format by informed users. Furthermore, the information grammar can be used to obtain the relevant data and processes of the application domain, and serves as a basis for the query language of users with the information system.

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P.J.M. Frederiks, and Th.P. van der Weide. From a File-Oriented View to an Object-Oriented View. Technical report: CSI-R9601, January, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

The last three decades the architecture of information systems has evolved from file-oriented, via data-oriented and communication-oriented towards an object-oriented view. Hand in hand with this architectural evolution the way a user communicates with the information system is changed. In this paper we discuss the relation between the different architectures and their associated man-machine communication. We introduce the concept of information grammar, and show that this grammar can be seen as a common point of convergence. Together with the evolution, we can identify an evolution of methods for information system development. The construction of an information grammar is also addressed in this paper.

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P.J.M. Frederiks, C.H.A. Koster, and Th.P. van der Weide. Validation of Object-Oriented Analysis Models using Informal Language. Technical report: CSI-R9609, May, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

In this paper a conceptual model for object-oriented analysis is introduced. Three submodels are described which can be seen as milestones during the analysis phase. Each (sub)model has a corresponding paraphrasing mechanism which may be used (1) to provide a description of the structure of the model and (2) to generate sample instantiations. This paraphrasing mechanism is intended to enable the domain expert to validate the model by sentences in (semi-)natural language.

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E.C.M. Hoenkamp, L.R.B. Schomaker, P. van Bommel, C.H.A. Koster, and Th.P. van der Weide. Profile - A Proactive Information Filter. Technical report: CSI-N9602, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

The main theme of the Filtering Problem is to provide an effective agent as an intermediate between information sources and information users. This document describes the Profile project as an proactive information filter.

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J.W.G.M. Hubbers, and P. van Bommel. Using Graph Rewrite Rules in MISS. Technical report: CSI-N9604, May, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

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J.W.G.M. Hubbers, and A.H.M. ter Hofstede. An Investigation of the Formal Foundations of Object-Oriented Conceptual Data Modeling. Technical report, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996, To appear.

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J.W.G.M. Hubbers, and A.H.M. ter Hofstede. On the Concepts Underlying Object-Oriented Conceptual Data Modeling. Technical report: CSI-R9615, September, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

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J.J. Sarbo. Representing subsumption by concept lattices. Technical report: CSI-R9611, June, Computing Science Institute, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1996.

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Professional

T.F. Verhoef, and Th.P. van der Weide. Systeemontwikkeling met bouwstenen: een ideaal in de praktijk. In: Informatie, Vol: 38, Pages: 50-56, June, 1996, In Dutch.

Hergebruik van bouwstenen is een middel om de lasten van software-ontwikkeling en -beheer in de hand te houden en de kwaliteit van de ontwikkelde software te verbeteren. Het begrip bouwsteen heeft echter nog geen geaccepteerde (formele) definitie. Aan de hand van een aantal voorbeelden wordt het begrip afgebakend. Daarna demonstreren we de geautomatiseerde ondersteuning van ontwikkeling en (her)gebruik van bouwstenen en staan we stil bij organisatorische consequenties.

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