Generalization/specialization abstraction structures
: Theoretical study and integration in a database design workbench

Student thesis: Master typesMaster in Computer science


The generalization/specialization abstraction structures offer a powerful specification tool. This work first attempts to identify the different facets of the concept, as far as conceptual database design is concerned: indeed, generalization/specialization structures are part of numerous (semantic) data models but there are many variations around the definitions and the ways in which they are used. From this theoretical analysis, we define a useful and consistent subset of these structures in order to include them in an existing database design workbench based on the entity-relationship approach. The proposed construct, called the category, is introduced in the workbench model; the existing processors are modified, while new functions are proposed (a special care is given to transformations).
Date of Award1990
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
SupervisorJean-Luc Hainaut (Supervisor)


  • abstraction mechanism
  • CASE
  • conceptual modelling
  • database design
  • database design workbench
  • entity-relationship approach
  • generalization/specialization
  • senantic data model
  • transformation

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