Hierarchical ER Diagrams (HERD) – The Method and Experimental Evaluation

  • Peretz Shoval
  • Revital Danoch
  • Mira Balaban
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2784)


HERD (Hierarchical Entity-Relationship Diagram) is a semi-algorithmic, bot-tom-up method for creating hierarchical ER diagrams (ERD) from a given ”flat“ diagram. The method is based on three packaging operations, which group entity and relationship types according to certain criteria. The packaging opera-tions are applied in several steps on a given (presumably large) ERD. The result is a hierarchy of simple and interrelated diagrams – ER structures – with external relationships to other structures. We conduct an experimental comparison of HERD and flat ERD from the point of view of user comprehension; time to complete comprehension tasks, and user preference of models. Results of the comparison reveal that there is no significant difference in comprehension of the two diagram types and in the time it takes to complete the comprehension tasks, but we found that users prefer HERD diagrams.


Comprehension Task Diagram Type Object Oriented Model External Relationship Binary Relationship 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peretz Shoval
    • 1
  • Revital Danoch
    • 1
  • Mira Balaban
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information Systems EngineeringBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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