OntoFrame: An Ontological Framework for Method Engineering

OntoFrame: An Ontological Framework for Method Engineering

Mauri Leppänen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-278-7.ch008
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A large number of strategies, approaches, meta models, techniques and procedures have been suggested to support method engineering (ME). Most of these artifacts, here called the ME artifacts, have been constructed, in an inductive manner, synthesizing ME practice and existing ISD methods without any theory-driven conceptual foundation. Also those ME artifacts which have some conceptual groundwork have been anchored on foundations that only partly cover ME. This chapter presents an ontological framework, called OntoFrame, which can be used as a coherent conceptual foundation for the construction, analysis and comparison of ME artifacts. Due to its largeness, the authors here describe its modular structure composed of multiple ontologies. For each ontology, they highlight its purpose, subdomains, and theoretical foundations. The authors also outline the approaches and process by which OntoFrame has been constructed and deploy OntoFrame to make a comparative analysis of existing conceptual artifacts.
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Method engineering (ME) means actions by which an information systems development (ISD) method is developed, and later customized and configured to fit the needs of an organization or an ISD project. ME is far from trivial in practice. In the first place, the ISD methods are abstract things with divergent semantic and pragmatic meanings. The former implies that conceptions of what the ISD methods should contain may vary substantially (Fitzgerald et al., 2002; Hirschheim et al., 1995; Iivari et al., 2001; Graham et al., 1997; Heym et al., 1992; Avison et al., 1995; Leppänen 2005). The latter suggests that views of roles, both technical and political, which the ISD methods play in ISD may be quite different (Chang et al., 2002; Fitzgerald et al., 2002; Wastell, 1996). The existing methods also differ from one another in their fundamental assumptions and approaches (Fitzgerald et al., 2002; Iivari et al., 2001). Second, it is often difficult to characterize the target ISD situation in a way which makes it possible to conduct a proper selection from and a suitable adaptation in existing methods for an organization or a project (Aydin, 2007). Third, it is frequently unclear which kind of strategies (i.e. from “scratch”, integration, adaptation) and processes should be applied at each stage of the engineering of an ISD method. Fourth, most of the method engineering (ME) situations suffer from the lack of time and other resources, causing demands for carrying out ME actions in a straightforward and efficient manner.

A large array of ME strategies and approaches (e.g. Kelly 2007; Kumar et al., 1992; Oie, 1995; Plihon et al., 1998; Ralyte et al., 2003; Rolland et al., 1996), meta models (e.g. Graham et al., 1997; Harmsen, 1997; Heym et al., 1992; Kelly et al., 1996; OMG, 2005; Prakash, 1999; Venable, 1993), ME techniques (e.g. Kinnunen et al., 1996; Kornyshova et al., 2007; Leppänen, 2000; Punter et al., 1996; Saeki, 2003) and ME procedures (e.g. Harmsen, 1997; Karlsson et al., 2004; Nuseibeh et al., 1996; Song, 1997) have been suggested to support method engineering. These ME artifacts, as we call them here, sustain, however, several kinds of shortcomings and deficiencies (Leppänen, 2005). One of the major limitations in them is the lack of a uniform and consistent conceptual foundation. Most of the ME artifacts have been derived, in an inductive manner, from ME practice and existing ISD methods without any theory-based conceptual ground. Also those ME artifacts that have a well-defined underpinning have been anchored on foundations that only partly cover the ME domain.

ME is a very multifaceted domain. It concerns not only ME activities, ME deliverables, ME tools, ME actors and organizational units, but, through its main outcome, an ISD method, also ISD activities, ISD deliverables, ISD actors, ISD tools, etc. Furthermore, ME involves indirectly, through information system (IS) models and their implementations, the IS contexts as well as those contexts that utilize information services provided by the ISs. Thus, in constructing an ME artifact it is necessary to anchor it on a coherent conceptualization that covers ME, ISD and IS, as well as the ISD and ME methods. In ontology engineering literature (e.g. Gruber, 1993) a specification of the conceptualization of a domain is commonly called an ontology. Hence, what we need here is a coherent set of ontologies which cover all the aforementioned sub-domains of ME.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Terry Halpin
When modeling information systems, one often encounters subtyping aspects of the business domain that can prove challenging to implement in either... Sample PDF
Enriched Conceptualization of Subtyping
Chapter 2
Alessandro Artale, C. Maria Keet
This chapter focuses on formally representing life cycle semantics of part-whole relations in conceptual data models by utilizing the temporal... Sample PDF
Essential, Mandatory, and Shared Parts in Conceptual Data Models
Chapter 3
Peter Bollen
In this chapter the authors extend the ORM conceptual modeling language with constructs for capturing the relevant parts of an application ontology... Sample PDF
Extending the ORM Conceptual Schema Language and Design Procedure with Modeling Constructs for Capturing the Domain Ontology
Chapter 4
Janis Stirna, Anne Persson
This chapter presents experiences and reflections from using the EKD Enterprise Modeling method in a number of European organizations. The EKD... Sample PDF
EKD: An Enterprise Modeling Approach to Support Creativity and Quality in Information Systems and Business Development
Chapter 5
Anders Carstensen, Lennart Holmberg, Kurt Sandkuhl, Janis Stirna
This chapter discusses how an Enterprise Modeling approach, namely C3S3P1, has been applied in an automotive supplier company. The chapter... Sample PDF
Integrated Requirement and Solution Modeling: An Approach Based on Enterprise Models
Chapter 6
John Krogstie, Frank Lillehagen
Innovative design is the most important competitive factor for global engineering and manufacturing. Critical challenges include cutting lead times... Sample PDF
Methodologies for Active Knowledge Modeling
Chapter 7
Peretz Shoval, Mark Last, Avihai Yampolsky
In the analysis phase of the information system development, the user requirements are studied, and analysis models are created. In most UML-based... Sample PDF
Data Modeling and Functional Modeling: Examining the Preferred Order of Using UML Class Diagrams and Use Cases
Chapter 8
Mauri Leppänen
A large number of strategies, approaches, meta models, techniques and procedures have been suggested to support method engineering (ME). Most of... Sample PDF
OntoFrame: An Ontological Framework for Method Engineering
Chapter 9
Patrick van Bommel, Stijn Hoppenbrouwers, Erik Proper, Jeroen Roelofs
A process-oriented framework (QoMo) is presented that aims to further the study of analysis and support of processes for modeling. The framework is... Sample PDF
Concepts and Strategies for Quality of Modeling
Chapter 10
John Erickson, Keng Siau
This chapter presents the basic ideas underlying Service Oriented Architecture as well as a brief overview of current research into the phenomena... Sample PDF
Service Oriented Architecture: A Research Review from the Software and Applications Perspective
Chapter 11
Vítor Estêvão Silva Souza, Ricardo de Almeida Falbo, Giancarlo Guizzardi
In the Web Engineering area, many methods and frameworks to support Web Information Systems (WISs) development have already been proposed.... Sample PDF
Designing Web Information Systems for a Framework-Based Construction
Chapter 12
Tony Elliman, Tally Hatzakis, Alan Serrano
This paper discusses the idea that even though information systems development (ISD) approaches have long advocated the use of integrated... Sample PDF
Business Process Simulation: An Alternative Modelling Technique for the Information System Development Process
Chapter 13
Leandro Dias da Silva, Elthon Allex da Silva Oliveira, Hyggo Almeida, Angelo Perkusich
In this chapter a formal agent based approach for the modeling and verification of intelligent information systems using Coloured Petri Nets is... Sample PDF
An Agent Based Formal Approach for Modeling and Verifying Integrated Intelligent Information Systems
Chapter 14
Jan vom Brocke
With the design of reference models, an increase in the efficiency of information systems engineering is intended. This is expected to be achieved... Sample PDF
Design Principles for Reference Modelling: Reusing Information Models by Means of Aggregation, Specialisation, Instantiation and Analogy
Chapter 15
Eleni Berki
Information systems development methodologies and associated CASE tools have been considered as cornerstones for building quality in an information... Sample PDF
Examining the Quality of Evaluation Frameworks and Metamodeling Paradigms of Information Systems Development Methodologies
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