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Logical Data Modelling

The sole purpose of an Information System is to support or


automate business activities by storing and processing
relevant business information or data.
It is therefore critical to the success of any IS development
that the meaning, structure and business rules of the required
data are fully analysed, understood and modelled.
During the Investigation phase we are concerned with
understanding the underlying (i.e. logical) data requirement
rather than making decisions about its physical
implementation.

Current and Required Data


Most of the data required for the future system will be the
same in content or meaning as that used currently.
The other form of data analysis concerns requirements for
new business data.
The approach of starting with an analysis of existing data (or
even re-using existing data models) will provide the most
rigorous and efficient approach.
This approach will also help in driving out restrictions in data
support arising from existing technical constraints.

Physical vs Logical Data Structures

An organisations data will be physically stored in many


different places, e.g. paper files, computer files.
This data will almost inevitably contain duplications and
compromises due to the physical restrictions of storage,
processing or practicality.
Example:
A physical purchase order form will hold information about products
(product name, product number, product price), suppliers (supplier name,
supplier address), the orders heading (purchase order number, purchase
order date) as well as the quantity of each product ordered (quantity
ordered).
While we may have a single physical grouping of data on one purchase
order form, what we actually have is information about several different
things - products, suppliers, and purchase orders.
In other words the underlying logical view is of a number of separate data
groupings, each describing a different business concept or object.
We will also find that information on, for example, products is physically
held in many other places, such as on customer orders, invoices and
despatch notes.
This all leads to a confusing mess of duplication and interconnecting
information, which in turn leads to problems in maintaining data
consistency and integrity.

The LDM
In SSADM the vehicle for analysing the logical structure
of an organisations information is the Logical Data Model
(LDM).
A Logical Data Model is a way of graphically representing
what that information is really all about, how it relates to
other information and business concepts, and how
business rules are applied to its use in the system.
The LDM is possibly the most important and ultimately
the most rigorous product of an entire SSADM project.
Logical Data Models consist of two parts:
a diagram called the Logical Data Structure (LDS);
a set of associated textual descriptions that explain each part of
the diagram.

Entities
Any object or concept about which a system needs to
hold information is known as an Entity Type (or entity for
short).
To be a valid entity we must wish to hold information on
more than one occurrence of it. Entity occurrences are
real world instances of an entity type.
For example the entity type Supplier will have
occurrences such as:
Supplier No

3621

2327

Supplier Name

Off Beat Recordings

Bella Sonic

Supplier Address

12 High Street etc.

Lake Industrial Estate etc.

Entities (continued)
The symbol for an entity in an LDS is a round cornered
rectangle containing the entitys name (which must be
unique):

Supplier
unique name

An entity must have a number of properties to qualify as


such:
- There must be more than one occurrence of the entity.
- Each occurrence should be uniquely identifiable.
- There must be data that we want to hold about the entity.
- It should be of direct interest to the system.

Attributes
Each item of information (or data) that we hold
about an entity is known as an attribute or data
item.
Examples of attributes for Supplier might be
supplier number, supplier name, supplier address,
and supplier telephone no.
The detail of an entitys attributes is not formally
included on the LDS itself. This is held in separate
textual descriptions, which will be discussed later.

Relationships
Entities do not exist in isolation, but are related to other
entities.
In physical data structures these relationships are
signified by physical links such as pointers or placement
in the same file or document.
In logical models relationships represent business
associations or rules and not physical links.
Any entities that are related are linked by a line on the
LDS.
The line is labelled with the name of the relationship, and
is named in both directions.
supplier for
Supplier

?
placed with

Purchase
Order

Degree
The number of occurrences of each entity type participating in a
given relationship is denoted by the degree or cardinality of that
relationship, and illustrated on the LDS by adding crows feet to the
relationships line.
A

m:n

1:m

1:1

There are three types of degree:


Many to Many (m:n). This tells us that each occurrence of A is related to one or more
occurrences of B, and each occurrence of B is related to one or more occurrences of
A.
One to Many (1:m). This tells us that each occurrence of A is related to one or more
occurrences of B, but each occurrence of B is related to only one occurrence of A.
One to One (1:1). This tells us that each occurrence of A is related to only one
occurrence of B, and each occurrence of B is related to only one occurrence of A.

Optionality
Each relationship is further annotated to show if it must
exist for all occurrences of the participating entity types.
If there can be occurrences of one entity that are not
related to at least one occurrence of the other, then the
relationship is said to be optional for that entity.
The relationship line is then converted to a dashed line at
its optional end (which could mean both ends if both
entities are optional participants).
Supplier

supplier for

placed with

Purchase
Order

Developing the LDS


To start with we are only interested in producing a high
level model of the current systems underlying data
structure.
Due to its largely conceptual nature Logical Data
Modelling can be one of the most intense activities of an
SSADM project.
In many projects development of the LDM is started by
holding brainstorming sessions with small groups of
analysts and users.
With a little practice analysts often find that the best
method of data modelling is to draw up possible LDSs
almost instinctively
Relationships are added as each entity is identified and
then checked with users on the spot.
This approach has a lot to recommend it, particularly at
this level of detail or for small systems, as diagrams are
produced and verified quickly.

Identifying Entities
To identify entities in the current environment we can
begin by looking at our physical data stores to find out
exactly what it is that they hold information about.
If we take the customer order file and discuss it with
users, we find that it not only contains details of each
individual order, but of the customers themselves,
i.e. customer address, customer telephone number etc., and so
encompasses at least two entities, namely Customer and
Customer Order.

Supplier

Purchase Order

Customer

Delivery (from a supplier)

Product

Stock

Customer Order

Despatch (to customers)

Verification
Once the list has been drawn up we should verify it with
key users during preliminary scoping interviews.
The key questions to ask of each entity are:
Are any of the candidates merely attributes of another entity?
Do any of the candidates represent a subset of occurrences of
another entity?
Do all of the entities have a unique identifier?

During this process we may discover new entities, merge


existing entities or discard candidates as being outside
the area of investigation.
Note: There will often be relationships between entities that exist in the
real world, but which are not of relevance to the system under discussion.
E.g a customer of ZigZag may well be employed by one of its suppliers.
This is NOT something that ZigZag will be interested in recording!

Adding Relationships
We now examine each entity to see if it is directly related,
in a way that is of interest to the system, to any of the
other entities.
The best way to do this is in discussion with users, either
taking each entity in turn, or starting with a key entity and
moving around the LDS network as the relationships
are identified.
Having identified where we think relationships exist, we
now consider their degree, optionality and names.
We do this by identifying the business rules that apply to
each entity pairing.
The basic process is the same for all pairings, so we will
look at just one example.

Stock - Delivery
We first consider the relationship from the
Stock perspective:
Each Stock occurrence will consist of a quantity of a
single product, all of which was delivered on the
same delivery.
If within the depot we have a quantity of a given
product, some of which was delivered in one delivery
and some in another, then we will have more than
one Stock.
This is an example of one of ZigZags business rules,
and one that will continue in the new system.

Thus each Stock occurrence is related to just


one Delivery.
Each delivery may contain a number of different
products, each of which will be stored as a separate
stock (remember that each Stock occurrence is a
quantity of a single product).

Thus each Delivery is related to one or more


Stock occurrences.

Delivery

Stock

Stock Delivery (continued)


We now consider the optionality of the relationship:
Each Stock must have been delivered by a Delivery.
So the relationship at the Stock end is mandatory.
However a Delivery could be rejected for quality reasons by
the depot, in which case the delivery would be recorded but
would not be related to any subsequent Stock occurrences.
So the relationship is optional at the Delivery end.

Choosing a name is often the hardest part of the


procedure.
It is important to name a relationship in both directions
as it forces us to examine the true nature of the
relationship, sometimes leading to the discovery of
additional relationships or even entities.
We should always try to choose phrases that
accurately reflect the users view of the relationship. In
our example it is not too difficult to find reasonable
names: delivery of and delivered by.

Delivery

Stock

Delivery

delivery
of

delivered
by

Stock

Overview LDS

Continuing this process for all of the relationships identified on the


matrix gives us a first-cut overview LDS for the current system:
supplier
of

Supplier
supplier
for

supplier of

Despatch

despatch
of

Delivered
by
placed
with
Purchase
Order

ordered
by

despatched
in

supplied by

ordered by
Product
customer
order for

order for

results in

held as
holding of

result of
delivered by
Delivery

Stock
delivery of

Customer

orderer of

ordered by

Customer
Order

Drilling Down.
The overview LDS provides us with a good basis for
building a more complete model of current data.
We begin the process of creating a detailed model by
looking at this model and discussing it with users to
check our understanding of the scope of current data and
to uncover lower level entities which can be added
immediately.
Product
Type

Product

Depot
Zone

Supplier
Invoice

Delivery

Masters and Details


Most relationships are 1:m.
The entity at the 1 end is known as the
master and the entity at the m end as the
detail.

Master

Detail

Supplier

The terms master and detail refer only to an


entitys role in a particular relationship.
It is quite possible for an entity to be the
master in one relationship and the detail in
another.

Product

Stock

Keys
We should be able to select at least one identifier for each
entity type,
i.e. an attribute that enables each occurrence of an entity to be
uniquely identified,
e.g. for Customer we could use customer number.

Any attribute or set of attributes which together uniquely


identify an entity is known as a candidate key.
One of these candidates (there will often only be one)
should be selected as the primary key.
Whenever we require direct access to an entity, the
primary key is used to identify which occurrence we are
interested in.
For example, if we needed to access the Supplier entity to
find out a suppliers address, we would use the primary
key of supplier number to identify the correct occurrence.

Foreign Keys
If we have a relationship between two entities we need to
be able to associate the occurrences at one end with the
related occurrences at the other.
In a relational model (such as the LDM) we do this by
including the primary key of the master in the set of
attributes of the detail.
The copy of the masters primary key in the detail entity is
known as a foreign key.

Key Navigation

Supplier attributes:
Supplier No. (Primary Key), e.g 271
Supplier Address etc.

Purchase Order attributes:


P.O. Number (Primary Key), e.g 5001
P.O. Date etc.
Supplier Number (Foreign Key), e.g 271

Supplier

To access all purchase orders placed with


supplier number 271, we look for all
occurrences of Purchase Order with a
supplier number attribute value of 271.
Coming in the opposite direction, to access
the supplier for purchase order 5001, we
look for the single occurrence of the
Supplier entity whose primary key is equal
to the supplier number given in the foreign
key of purchase order number 5001, i.e.
supplier number 271.

supplier for

placed with
Purchase
Order

Types and Notation

Primary Keys belong to one of three types:


1. A Simple Key, consisting of a single attribute;
2. A Compound Key, consisting of two or more foreign keys;
3. A Hierarchic or Composite Key, consisting of one or more foreign
keys and a qualifying non-foreign key attribute.

Notation

The primary key is underlined and the foreign key preceded by


an asterisk to show the contents of each entity:
Supplier (supplier number, supplier address, supplier tel. no.)
Purchase Order (P.O. number, P.O. date, *supplier number)

Resolving Many-to-Many Relationships


Many design techniques can only be carried out on
hierarchical (i.e. master-detail) relationships which are
hidden by m:n relationships.
m:n relationships make navigation around the model very
difficult or even impossible (and, although we are not
really concerned with technical issues at this point, they
cannot be implemented).
m:n relationships very often hide information about the
participating entities or the relationships themselves.

Resolving Many-to-Many Relationships - example


Each Product may be ordered by one or more Purchase
Orders.
Each Purchase Order must be an order for one or more
Products.
So where do we place the quantity ordered?

Resolving Many-to-Many Relationships - example


Purchase Order Number:
0021113

Purchase Order Date:

Supplier:

Delivery Address:

2327

Depot 1

Bella Sonic

Harrow Way

Lake Industrial Estate

Harrow

Unit 5

HA4 3NB

4/3/01

NE3 7AJ

Qty

Your
Product
Ref

Our
Produc
t

Description

Format

Unit
Price

Ref
100

BJB001

884690

The Best of Johnnie Boy

CD

6.99

500

3485VHS/3

993201

Unbranded Blank 3hr Video Tapes

BV

0.53

If we look at a sample
purchase order of
ZigZag, we will
discover that details
of quantities and
products are held in
individual purchase
order lines.

Resolving Many-to-Many Relationships - example


So in this case we can
choose a natural link
entity, which we will call
Purchase Order Item.
Purchase Order Line
sounds a bit too similar to
the physical printed line
on the order form.
The key for Purchase
Order Item will be
Purchase Order Number
plus Product Number a
compound key.

Purchase
Order

Product

contains

ordered by
order for

contained in
Purchase
Order
Item

Relationships in M:N Resolutions


Whenever we introduce a link entity we need to ensure
that the relationships we recorded previously with its
master entities are still valid.
For example, in our overview LDS we recorded a many to
many relationship between Despatch and Customer
Order.
This may at a high level appear reasonable as it is
common for some items in an order to go into one van
load (Despatch) and some into another.
However, the contents of each item within the order is
always despatched in its entirety in the same van load
(i.e. if 3 copies of Puccinis Tosca are ordered within a
single customer order, they will all be delivered together).
Therefore, each Despatch is actually related to many
Customer Order Items, rather than to whole Customer
Orders.

Link Entities

Depot Zone and Product Type provide another more complex


illustration of many to many relationships:
Each Depot Zone may store one or more Product Types.
Each Product Type must be storable in one or more Depot Zones.
The attributes that make up Depot Zone are Depot Zone Number,
Shelf Height, and Depot Zone Description etc. Depot Zone
Number is a unique identifier that is assigned to each Depot
Zone, and is the label attached to the end of each row of
shelving in the zone. Depot Zone Description would include
values such as CD and DVD, Videos and Books, and Tape etc,
which describe the sorts of products that the shelving in each
zone can accommodate.
The attributes of Product Type include Product type code and
Product type name, where the Product type code is an
abbreviation of the Product type name, e.g. BV for Blank
Video, DVD for DVD etc.
So, for example, we might have the following cases:
Depot Zones 101 and 105 store DVD and CD product types;
Depot Zone 102 stores VHS, BV and SPB (small paperback book) product
types.

Link Entities
To make these associations we would have to set up lists
of foreign keys in both entities, of arbitrary length.
Significant maintenance overhead
Navigation around the model very difficult
Against the rules of relational data modelling

Solution: A link entity


Each occurrence will store a valid association or pairing of a
Depot Zone occurrence with a Product Type occurrence, such as:
Depot Zone
Product Type
101
DVD
Product
Depot Zone
101
CD
Type
105
DVD
allocated by
stored
105
CD
in
102
VHS
allocation for
allocates
102
BV
storage for
102
SPB
Depot Zone
Allocation

Pigs Ear
substitute for

Product

sub with

substituted by

sub by

Product
Substitute

Product
sub of

sub for

Resolving One-to-One Relationships


The problems associated with 1:1 relationships are less
clear-cut than with m:n relationships:
1:1 relationships often obscure an underlying single entity.
There may be a missing link entity.
Later design techniques may require all relationships to be
master-detail.

In the ZigZag overview LDS there are two 1:1


relationships - between Delivery and Purchase Order and
between Supplier Invoice and Delivery .
Deliveries are identified by the purchase order they are satisfying
The only information currently held about them details which
parts of the purchase order they have successfully delivered.
It is quite easy in this case to view Delivery as a logical extension
(or conclusion) of a Purchase Order, so we will merge the two
entities and transfer all of Deliverys relationships to Purchase
Order.
To do this successfully, Purchase Order will contain attributes
delivery date and suppliers delivery reference while Purchase
Order Item will contain quantity delivered.

Resolving One-to-One Relationships (continued)


Supplier
Invoice

Purchase
Order

Invoice
Item

Purchase
Order
Item

Supplier
Invoice

Purchase
Order

Purchase
Order
Item

Resolving One-to-One Relationships (continued)


Supplier
Invoice

Purchase
Order

Purchase
Order
Item

Purchase
Order

Supplier
Invoice

Purchase
Order
Item

Removing Redundant Relationships


One of our aims when drawing up an LDS should be to
include only the minimum number of relationships needed
to apply all of the business rules relating to data.
Any unnecessary relationships are termed redundant, and
will involve us in a maintenance overhead if implemented.

Customer

Customer
Order

Customer
Order
Item

Is this
relationship
Redundant?

The major difference


between
relationships and a
route map is that
each relationship
carries with it a
meaning, and so
different routes
between entities will
often have different
meanings, or enforce
different rules.

Removing Redundant Relationships

Purchase
Order

Is this
relationship
Redundant?

Supplier
Invoice

Purchase
Order
Item

Each Purchase Order may be


related to a number of
Supplier Invoice, each of
which is related to a PO Item.
Each PO Item may relate to
just one Supplier Invoice,
which relates to just one
Purchase Order.
HOWEVER Each Purchase
Order MUST contain at least
one PO Item.
If the Invoice is not present
then removing the direct
relationship would mean that
a relationship could not be
established between
Purchase Order and PO Item.

Product
Type

Supplier

Depot
Zone

Depot Zone
Allocation

Product
Substitute

Product
Purchase
Order
Despatch

Supplier
Invoice
Customer
Order
Purchase
Order
Item
Customer
Order
Item

Stock

Customer

Selected ZigZag Entities and Attributes


PRODUCT
Product Number
*Product Type Code
Product Name
Product Description
Release Date
Sell-by Date (special
promotional products)
Sell-from Date
Standard Purchase Price
Standard Selling Price
PRODUCT SUBSTITUTE
*Product Number [substitute]
*Product Number [substituted]
PRODUCT TYPE
Product Type Code
Product Type Name
Product Type Description
DEPOT ZONE
Depot Zone Number
Depot Zone Description

PURCHASE ORDER
Purchase Order Number

*Supplier Number
Suppliers Delivery Reference
Purchase Order Date
Purchase Order Status
Delivery Date
Delivery Start Time
Delivery End Time

SUPPLIER
Supplier Number
Supplier Name
Supplier Address
Supplier Tel. No.
Supplier Contact Name
SUPPLIER INVOICE
*Purchase Order Number
Suppliers Invoice Number
Invoice Date

PURCHASE ORDER ITEM


*Purchase Order Number
*Product Number
*Invoice Number
Quantity Required
Quantity Confirmed
Quantity Delivered
Quantity Accepted
Invoiced Quantity
Agreed Unit Price
Required-By Date
Required-By Time-Period

STOCK
Stock Id
*Purchase Order Number
*Product Number
*Zone Code
Quantity Stocked
Quantity Stocked
Quantity Reserved
DEPOT ZONE ALLOCATION
*Depot Zone Number
*Product Type Code

Completing the Documentation


Entity Description
Entity Name

Purchase Order

Description

A request for purchase and delivery of goods


from a single supplier.

Attribute

Primary
Key

Purchase Order Number

Yes

Foreign
Key

Mandatory/
Optional
M

Purchase Order Date

Supplier Number

Yes

Purchase Order Status

Delivery Date

Delivery Start Time

Delivery End Time

must/may be

either

Link Phrase

one & only one

/or

Entity Name

/one or more

must be

placed with

one & only one

Supplier

may

result in

one or more

Supplier
Invoice

must

contain

one or more

P.O. Item

Entity Volumes:

Max.

15000

Min.

6000

Average

10000

User

Access

P.O. Clerk

Read, Create, Delete, Modify

Despatch Scheduler

Read

Purchaser

Read, Create

Growth Rate: 15% per year


Archiving

Purchase Orders should be archived to tape six months


after the last related line has been delivered or cancelled.

Small Projects
Entity Name

Short Description or
Comments (optional)

Min
Volume

Max
Volume

Ave
Volume

Growth
Rate

Supplier
Product
Depot Zone

Numbers rise at Xmas

400
10000
26

750
100000
40

500
25000
32

5%
25%
20%

1500
90000

16000
420000

10000
200000

15%
25%

Purchase Order
Purchase Order
Item

Storage Area or Aisle


within Depot
Numbers rise at Xmas

Attribute Name

Short Description or
Comments (optional)

Domain

Length

Purchase Order
Number
Purchase Order
Date
Purchase Order
Status

Automatically
generated by system
Date order placed

Integer

DDMMYYYY

P(Provisional) V(Placed)
C(Confirmed) D(Delivered)

Entity Description Table and Data Catalogue Table for Small Projects

Validating the LDM


we need to check that the LDM can provide access to all of
the data items required by each update or enquiry process.
Most processes will need to access a number of data items,
which will be specified by some selection criteria.
These items will often be represented by the attributes of
more than one entity.
navigate around the relationships of the LDS, applying the
selection criteria to filter out the entity occurrences we need
to provide all of the necessary data. These navigations are
called Access Paths.

Validating the LDM

For example, when


allocating a zone in which to
store the stock of a
particular product received
in a delivery (a process
called Allocate Stock Zone),
we will need to find out
which depot zones have
been designated for the
storage of that type of
product.
The entry point to the LDS is
via the product number in
the entity Product.
We can then access its
product type, and then the
possible zones in which this
product can be stored by
reading through all the
occurrences of Depot Zone
Allocation for that Product
Type.

Product
Type

Product

Depot Zone
Allocation

Depot Zone

Product Type

Supplier

Depot Zone
Allocation

Product
Substitute

Product

Purchase Order

Customer

Despatch

Supplier
Invoice

Customer Order

Purchase
Order
Item
Customer
Order
Item

Stock