The research team at STARLab (Systems Technology and Applications Research Laboratory, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) has developed an Object Role Modeling markup language (ORM-ML) for representing ORM models in an XML based syntax. Stylesheets may be written to convert this ORM-ML syntax into other syntaxes for processing by business rule engines. The team "has chosen ORM for its rich constraint vocabulary and well-defined semantics and elected to use XML Schema to define this communication 'protocol' for conceptual schemas seen as XML document instances. The design approach respects the ORM structure as much as possible by not 'collapsing' it first through the usual relational transformer that comes with most ORM-based tools (or UML, or EER tools). ORM-ML allows the representation of any ORM schema without loss of information or change in semantics, except for the geometry and topology (graphical layout) of the schema (e.g., location, shapes of the symbols), which easily may be provided as a separate graphical style sheet to the ORM Schema."
Research at the STARLab is "situated in the field of Information Systems, focusing on methodological design of information systems, text retrieval and text enrichment, (semantic) web-based applications, digital libraries, ontologies, integration and cooperation between several Information systems." In its DOGMA project, the team is setting up an ontology server in order to assist the gathering and incremental growth of ontologies.
"ORM (Object Role Modeling) is a method for designing and querying database models at the conceptual level, where the application is described in terms readily understood by users, rather than being recast in terms of implementation data structures. This high-level approach is philosophically in tune with the business rules movement evangelized by such industry leaders as Barbara von Halle and Ron Ross. Typically, a modeler develops an information model by interacting with others who are collectively familiar with the application. Because these subject matter experts need not have technical modeling skills, reliable communication occurs by discussing the application at a conceptual level, using natural language, analyzing the information in simple units, and working with instances (sample populations). ORM is specifically designed to improve this kind of communication. It comes in a variety of flavors, including natural language information analysis method (NIAM), which is best known in Europe, where the method originated in the mid-1970s. Since then, ORM has been extended and refined by researchers in Australia, Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere. Unlike ER, which has dozens of different dialects, ORM has only a few dialects with only minor differences." [from Terry Halpin, "Business Rules and Object Role Modeling."]
- STARLab ORM-ML website
- ORM-ML XML Schema [cache 2002-09]
- "A Conceptual Markup Language that Supports Interoperability between Business Rule Modeling Systems." By Jan Demey, Mustafa Jarrar, and Robert Meersman (VUB STARLab, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium). Paper prepared for CoopIS 2002 (Tenth International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems, October 30 - November 1, 2002, University of California, Irvine). 17 pages. [cache]
- See: "Conceptual Modeling and Markup Languages" - Main reference page.
- See: "Markup Languages and Semantics" - Main reference page.
- See: "STARLab ORM Markup Language (ORM-ML)" - Main reference page.