Determining the Preferred Representation of Temporal Constraints in Conceptual Models

  • C. Maria KeetEmail author
  • Sonia Berman
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10650)


The need for expressing temporal constraints in conceptual models is well-known, but it is unclear which representation is preferred and what would be easier to understand by modellers. We assessed five different modes of representing temporal constraints, being the formal semantics, Description logics notation, a coding-style notation, temporal EER diagrams, and (pseudo-)natural language sentences. The same information was presented to 15 participants in an experimental evaluation. Principally, it showed that (1) there was a clear preference for diagrams and natural language versus a dislike for other representations; (2) diagrams were preferred for simple constraints, but the natural language rendering was preferred for more complex temporal constraints; and (3) a multi-modal modelling tool will be needed for the data analysis stage to be effective.



We thank all those who participated in the experiment.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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