Object-Role Modeling and the 21st Century

Understanding the triumvirate of Object-Role Modeling

Victor Morgante
5 min readMar 16, 2023
The Object-Role Modeling Triumvirate. Diagrams, Verbalisations and ORM Metamodel Data

Object-Role Modeling (ORM) is a amalgamous conceptual modelling system used for various tasks including database design, capturing business rules and developing ontologies. In some guises, ORM is used to express the logical construction of a conceptual model ranging over a Universe-of-Discourse. In this article we explore how modern-day Object-Role Modeling differs from the NIAM conceptual modelling methodology from which it is derived.

The Object-Role Modeling Triumvirate

Object-Role Modeling is broken down into a triumvirate of conceptually unified parts that allow ORM to express the structure of a Universe-of-Discourse in a manner that aims to be as unambiguous as possible.

These parts are:

  1. The graphical notation of Object-Role Modeling;
  2. Natural language extrapolation of logical constructs expressed by an overall Object-Role Model, called ‘verbalisations’; and
  3. The software driven data populated metamodel of an Object-Role Model that acts as a glue that ties the graphical notation to the natural language verbalisations.