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Subject: reference model versioning (FYI)

Of possible interest to members of this TC, at least tangentially,
if only for the citations.


Joint Reference Modeling: Collaboration Support through Version Management

By: Oliver Thomas
Institute for Information Systems (IWi) at the German Research Center
for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Saarland University, Saarbruecken (Germany)

In: Proceedings of the 40th Hawaii International Conference on
System Sciences - 2007


The derivation of specific models from reference
models corresponds with the creation of reference
model variants. Research on the design of such variant
constructions generally assumes an unchangeable
stock of reference models. The potential inherent in the
management of these variant constructions which
reflect the changes in jointly designed reference
models through time and, in doing so, their
evolutionary development, has not yet been tapped
into. The article at hand analyzes this problem and
presents a concept for the version management of
jointly designed reference models as a solution. The
task to be mastered with the proposed approach will
be concretized using data structures and a system
architecture and then prototypically implemented.

Section 2 lays the foundation for the terms used here
by differentiating between the terms 'variant' and
'version' in the context of joint reference modeling.
Due to the methodical procedure selected for the
design of the reference model version management, a
data model will be constructed in Section 3 which
represents the versioning for reference models on a
conceptual level. In Section 4, this description will be
adapted to general IT-interfaces in the form of system
architecture in order to then, in the implementation
phase in Section 5, be transferred to IT-components. In
Section 6, the work discussed here will be
distinguished from related work. The article ends with
a critical discussion of its results and an outlook in
Section 7.

... Reference models are reusable representations of
abstract know-how for a given domain [refs]. The
knowledge and experience in these models is
not unchangeable, so that reference models themselves
are subject to change throughout time. These changes
generally occur in two manners for models constructed
within the framework of the two processes in reference
modeling, development and usage. First, if within the
framework of an evaluation, one notices during the
development of a reference model that the model being
constructed does not fulfill the defined requirements,
then one must return to the preliminary phases. This
generally results in revisional constructions, which
replace the construction results evaluated. And second,
revisional reference model constructions are also
generated when reference models are used to derive
specific models. These revisional reference model
constructions often differ only slightly from one
another, depending on their use. Both of these aspects
lead to a differentiation between version and variant

Reference modeling literature focuses on variant
management [refs] and although the terminological
difference between variants and versions is alluded
to in literature [refs], the design of a version
management for reference models has occurred in
rudimentary form only. The goal of this article is to
meet these concerns with the design and prototypical
implementation of a version management tool for
joint-designed reference models.

There are already established procedure models for
the system development required here. The task of
these models is to secure the continuous description of
the process, from the business requirements to the
technical implementation. This analysis will use the
phase model of the architecture of integrated
information systems (ARIS), which differentiates
between the description levels requirements definition,
design specification and implementation.


Robin Cover
OASIS, Chief Information Architect

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