Semantics of the MibML Conceptual Modeling Grammar: An Ontological Analysis Using the Bunge-Wand-Weber Framework

Semantics of the MibML Conceptual Modeling Grammar: An Ontological Analysis Using the Bunge-Wand-Weber Framework

Hong Zhang (Missouri State University, USA), Rajiv Kishore (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA) and Ram Ramesh (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-172-8.ch001
OnDemand PDF Download:


A conceptual modeling grammar should be based on the theory of ontology and possess clear ontological semantics to represent problem domain knowledge in a precise and consistent manner. In this paper, we follow the notion of ontological expressiveness and conduct an ontological analysis of a newly-developed conceptual modeling grammar termed MibML (Multiagent-based Integrative Business Modeling Language). The grammar is developed to respond to the emerging needs for a special-purpose conceptual modeling grammar for the MIBIS (Multiagent-based Integrative Business Information Systems) universe. We assign ontological semantics to the MibML constructs and their relationship using the BWW (Bunge-Wand-Weber) model. This paper provides a starting point to further develop ontological principles and step-by-step guidelines to ensure the straightforward mapping from domain knowledge into MibML modeling constructs.
Chapter Preview


Conceptual modeling is the activity of formally describing some aspects of the physical and social world around us for purposes of understanding and communication (Mylopoulos, 1992). It is the first step for system developers to understand and describe the conceived or the real world system in information system (IS) analysis and design. A conceptual-modeling grammar is the language used to generate conceptual models. It provides a set of constructs and rules that show how to combine the constructs to model real-world domains (Wand & Weber, 2002). A conceptual modeling grammar should be based on a theory of ontology—a theory that articulates those constructs needed to describe the structure and behavior of the world in general (Wand & Weber, 1993; Weber, 2003). Upper-level Ontologies help clarify the semantics of a conceptual modeling grammar and enhance its expressive power to capture problem domain knowledge precisely and unambiguously.

The precision, unambiguity, coherence, and expressive power of conceptual grammars broadly address two fundamental requirements in conceptual grammar development: soundness and completeness. While precision, unambiguity, and coherence address the soundness issue, the expressive power of a conceptual grammar is a measure of completeness of the grammar. Soundness of a grammar can be ensured by its careful design, but universal completeness is generally not attainable. Conceptual modeling grammars may only be boundedly complete in the sense that their expressive strength is adequate to satisfy most requirements within a bounded universe of discourse (Kishore, Sharman, & Ramesh, 2004). The notion of ontological expressiveness and a formal approach to assess ontological expressiveness of conceptual modeling grammars have been proposed by Wand and Weber (1993, 2004), and have been used by several researchers in the past (e.g., Milton, 2004; Green & Rosemann, 2000, 2004; Wand, Storey, & Weber, 2000).

The goal of this article is to elaborate the semantics of a recently developed conceptual modeling grammar from an ontological expressiveness perspective. The grammar, termed MibML (Multiagent-based Integrative Business Modeling Language), provides fundamental constructs, relationships, and axioms specially developed for systems analysis and design in the MIBIS (multi-agent-based integrative business information system) universe (Zhang, Kishore, Sharman, & Ramesh, 2004, 2005). Nevertheless, there is a need to understand the clear ontological semantics of the MibML grammar in order to apply it for conceptual modeling in a problem domain. As stated above, conceptual precision, unambiguous definitions, coherence of conceptual structures, and expressive power of the semantics are central to capturing problem domain knowledge correctly into MibML conceptual models. Otherwise, conceptual modeling could become arbitrary and the mapping of domain knowledge into modeling constructs could become highly dependent upon the beliefs, knowledge, and prior experience of system analysts. For example, the MibML grammar includes both goal and task as foundation constructs. Without a precise, unambiguous, and coherent denotation of these constructs, it may be difficult to model an instance such as “order inventory” as a goal or as a task. This problem of semantic ambiguity (clarity) is common in many conceptual grammars including the ER modeling formalism, which has recently been addressed by Wand et al. (2000). We believe such difficulties can be overcome by providing ontological semantics of the MibML constructs and their relationships via ontological analysis of the grammar.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Hong Zhang, Rajiv Kishore, Ram Ramesh
A conceptual modeling grammar should be based on the theory of ontology and possess clear ontological semantics to represent problem domain... Sample PDF
Semantics of the MibML Conceptual Modeling Grammar: An Ontological Analysis Using the Bunge-Wand-Weber Framework
Chapter 2
Henry M. Kim, Arijit Sengupta, Mark S. Fox, Mehmet Dalkilic
This paper introduces a measurement ontology for applications to semantic Web applications, specifically for emerging domains such as microarray... Sample PDF
A Measurement Ontology Generalizable for Emerging Domain Applications on the Semantic Web
Chapter 3
Zhiyuan Chen
Environmental research and knowledge discovery both require extensive use of data stored in various sources and created in different ways for... Sample PDF
Semantic Integration and Knowledge Discovery for Environmental Research
Chapter 4
Vijayan Sugumaran, Gerald DeHondt
Software reuse has been discussed in the literature for the past three decades and is widely seen as one of the major areas for improving... Sample PDF
Towards Code Reuse and Refactoring as a Practice within Extreme Programming
Chapter 5
Miguel I. Aguiree-Urreta, George M. Marakas
Requirements elicitation has been recognized as a critical stage in system development projects, yet current models prescribing particular... Sample PDF
Requirements Elicitation Technique Selection: A Theory-Based Contingency Model
Chapter 6
VenuGopal Balijepally, Sridhar Nerur, RadhaKanta Mahapatra
Software development in organizations is evolving and increasingly taking a socio-technical hue. While empirical research guided by common sense... Sample PDF
IT Value of Software Development: A Multi-Theoretic Perspective
Chapter 7
Amel Mammar
UB2SQL is a tool for designing and developing database applications using UML and B formal method. The approach supported by UB2SQL consists of two... Sample PDF
UB2SQL: A Tool for Building Database Applications Using UML and B Formal Method
Chapter 8
Juliette Gutierrez
Crime reports are used to find criminals, prevent further violations, identify problems causing crimes and allocate government resources.... Sample PDF
Using Decision Trees to Predict Crime Reporting
Chapter 9
Karen Corral, David Schuff, Robert D. St. Louis, Ozgur Turetken
Inefficient and ineffective search is widely recognized as a problem for businesses. The shortcomings of keyword searches have been elaborated upon... Sample PDF
A Model for Estimating the Savings from Dimensional vs. Keyword Search
Chapter 10
Praveen Madiraju, Rajshekhar Sunderraman, Shamkant B. Navathe, Haibin Wang
Global semantic integrity constraints ensure the integrity and consistency of data spanning distributed databases. In this chapter, we discuss a... Sample PDF
Integrity Constraint Checking for Multiple XML Databases
Chapter 11
Russel Pears
Data Warehouses are widely used for supporting decision making. On Line Analytical Processing or OLAP is the main vehicle for querying data... Sample PDF
Accelerating Multi Dimensional Queries in Data Warehouses
Chapter 12
Vikas Agrawal, P. S. Sundararaghavan, Mesbah U. Ahmed, Udayan Nandkeolyar
Data warehouse has become an integral part in developing a DSS in any organization. One of the key architectural issues concerning the efficient... Sample PDF
View Materialization in a Data Cube: Optimization Models and Heuristics
Chapter 13
Athman Bouguettaya, Zaki Malik, Xumin Liu, Abdelmounaam Rezgui, Lori Korff
The ubiquity of the World Wide Web facilitates the deployment of highly distributed applications. The emergence of Web databases and applications... Sample PDF
WebFINDIT: Providing Data and Service-Centric Access through a Scalable Middleware
Chapter 14
James E. Wyse
Location-based mobile commerce (LBMC) incorporates location-aware technologies, wire-free connectivity, and server-based repositories of business... Sample PDF
Retrieval Optimization for Server-Based Repositories in Location-Based Mobile Commerce
Chapter 15
Shing-Han Li, Shi-Ming Huang, David C. Yen, Cheng-Chun Chang
The lifecycle of information system (IS) became relatively shorter compared with earlier days as a result of information technology (IT) revolution... Sample PDF
Migrating Legacy Systems to Web Services Architecture
Chapter 16
Myeong Ho Lee
The trend toward convergence, initiated by advances in ICT, entails the creation of new value chain networks, made up by partnerships between actors... Sample PDF
A Socio-Technical Interpretation of IT Convergence Services: Applying a Perspective from Actor Network Theory and Complex Adaptive Systems
Chapter 17
T. Ariyachandra, L. Dong
Past evidence suggests that organizational transformation from IT implementations is rare. Data warehousing promises to be one advanced information... Sample PDF
Understanding Organizational Transformation from IT Implementations: A Look at Structuration Theory
Chapter 18
Yuan Long, Keng Siau
Drawing on social network theories and previous studies, this research examines the dynamics of social network structures in Open Source Software... Sample PDF
Social Networks Structures in Open Source Software Development Teams
Chapter 19
Susanta Mitra, Aditya Bagchi, A. K. Bandyopadhyay
A social network defines the structure of a social community like an organization or institution, covering its members and their... Sample PDF
Design of a Data Model for Social Networks Applications
About the Contributors