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The problem of managing inconsistencies in and between models is omnipresent in software engineering. Over the years many different inconsistency management approaches have been proposed by the research community. Because of the large diversity of backgrounds from which these approaches originate, it is difficult to pinpoint what they have in common and what not. As a result, researchers encounter difficulties when they want to position and compare their work with existing state-of-the-art, or when they collaborate on or combine different approaches. Also, end-users have a hard time to make an informed decision when selecting the most appropriate approaches. To address these problems, we propose a unifying conceptual framework of definitions and terminology, independent of any concrete inconsistency management approach or (modelling) language. This reference framework allows to gain a common understanding of what inconsistency management involves, what an inconsistency really means, and what the possible causes of an inconsistency can be. We demonstrate the genericity and usefulness of the framework by providing concrete instantiations of it to four different inconsistency management approaches.
|Published - 2009