Data Model

A data model in software engineering is an abstract model that documents and organizes the business data for communication between team members and is used as a plan for developing applications, specifically how data are stored and accessed.

According to Hoberman (2009), "A data model is a wayfinding tool for both business and IT professionals, which uses a set of symbols and text to precisely explain a subset of real information to improve communication within the organization and thereby lead to a more flexible and stable application environment."

A data model explicitly determines the structure of data or structured data. Typical applications of data models include database models, design of information systems, and enabling exchange of data. Usually data models are specified in a data modeling language.

Communication and precision are the two key benefits that make a data model important to applications that use and exchange data. A data model is the medium which project team members from different backgrounds and with different levels of experience can communicate with one another. Precision means that the terms and rules on a data model can be interpreted only one way and are not ambiguous.

A data model can be sometimes referred to as a data structure, especially in the context of programming languages. Data models are often complemented by function models, especially in the context of enterprise models.

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