Semantic Data Model

What Does Semantic Data Model Mean?

The semantic data model is a method of structuring data in order to represent it in a specific logical way. It is a conceptual data model that includes semantic information that adds a basic meaning to the data and the relationships that lie between them. This approach to data modeling and data organization allows for the easy development of application programs and also for the easy maintenance of data consistency when data is updated.


Techopedia Explains Semantic Data Model

The semantic data model is a relatively new approach that is based on semantic principles that result in a data set with inherently specified data structures. Usually, singular data or a word does not convey any meaning to humans, but paired with a context this word inherits more meaning.

In a database environment, the context of data is often defined mainly by its structure, such as its properties and relationships with other objects. So, in a relational approach, the vertical structure of the data is defined by explicit referential constraints, but in semantic modeling this structure is defined in an inherent way, which is to say that a property of the data itself may coincide with a reference to another object.

A semantic data model may be illustrated graphically through an abstraction hierarchy diagram, which shows data types as boxes and their relationships as lines. This is done hierarchically so that types that reference other types are always listed above the types that they are referencing, which makes it easier to read and understand.

Abstractions used in a semantic data model:

  • Classification – "instance_of" relations
  • Aggregation – "has_a" relations
  • Generalization – "is_a" relations

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Margaret Rouse
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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.