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Conceptual Data Model

A Conceptual data model is the most abstract form of data model. It is helpful for communicating ideas to a wide range of stakeholders because of its simplicity. Therefore platform-specific information, such as data types, indexes and keys, is omitted from a Conceptual data model. Other implementation details, such as procedures and interface definitions, are also excluded.

This is an example of a Conceptual data model, rendered using two of the notations supported by Enterprise Architect.

Showing an Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) conceptual model in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

Using Entity-Relationship (ER) notation, we represent the data concepts 'Customers' and 'Customers Addresses' as Entities with a 1-to-many relationship between them. We can represent exactly the same semantic information using UML Classes and Associations.

Showing a UML Class diagram conceptual data model in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

Whether you use UML or ER notation to represent data concepts in your project depends on the experience and preferences of the stakeholders involved. The detailed structure of the data concepts illustrated in a Conceptual data model is defined by the Logical data model.

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