Models at Work

Case reports from industry and science, on the creation and use of domain models


Models are created and used in many different contexts, including business process management, enterprise engineering, enterprise architecture management, requirements engineering, information systems engineering, software engineering, ontology engineering, etc, across science and industry (including government, NGO's, etc). These different contexts result in a rich variety of more specific types of domain models, such as enterprise (architecture) models, business process models, information models, class diagrams, value models, reference models, ontologies, knowledge graphs, semantic web specifications, etc. Depending on the context, domain models can be created with the aim of being an (as truthful as possible) representation of the conceptual structure of the domain that is modelled; leading to conceptual models. In addition, to accommodate for specific uses and contexts, domain models may also incorporate “conceptual compromises” which, for instance, result in domain models that lend themselves better for animation, execution, gamification, or automated (logic-based) reasoning. The use of domain models may, sometimes, even go unnoticed since these models do not always take the form of traditional “boxes and lines” diagrams or some other dedicated notation.

The creation, management, and use, of domain models in scientific and industrial practice is done in the context of some expected Return on Modelling Effort (RoME). In other words, it is expected that the model will provide a certain value that will offset the costs involved in the creation and maintenance of the model.

To ensure relevance of research into (the many different forms of) domain modelling, it is important to gather insights from the use of domain models in practice. To, indeed, better understand the practical needs for, and use of, domain models, it would be beneficial to have a library of cases in which domain models have played a crucial role. This desire is also shared by existing academic events including (in order of their planning in 2022):

  • the GI EMISA (Enterprise Modelling and Information Systems Architectures) workshop,

  • the IFIP 8.1 EMMSAD (Exploring Modelling Methods for Systems Analysis and Design) working conference,

  • the IEEE CBI (Conference on Business Informatics),

  • the ER conference on Conceptual Modelling, and

  • the IFIP 8.1 PoEM (Practice of Enterprise Modelling) working conference.

It is the desire of these events to, at least in 2022, include explicit reports on the creation and use of domain models in practice (in science or industry) in a dedicated “Models-at-Work” track.

This shared desire has now resulted in a coordinated effort to gather (and share among the events) case reports regarding the creation and use of models in scientific and industrial practice. The longer term ambition is to create an annual “Models-at-Work” post-proceedings involving the case reports within that year. In line with this, the plan is to have an ongoing call, across the associated events, for such case reports. Each case report will be reviewed in a process similar to the submission of papers to a journal. In other words, submissions can be re-submitted based on improvements required by the reviewers. Once accepted, the case reports will be available to be presented (in virtual or physical mode) at one of the associated events. The allocation of the accepted case reports to the associated events will be done jointly by the authors and the organisers of the involved events.

If successful, the plan is to continue this in the coming years. The resulting library of case reports could be used in (at least) three directions:

  • Science: challenges from the real world are made explicitly visible to researchers.

  • Practice: results from research are illustrated (by way of cases) to practitioners.

  • Teaching: case reports can be used for educational purposes.