An entity–relationship model (or ER model) describes interrelated things of interest in a specific domain of knowledge. A basic ER model is composed of entity types (which classify the things of interest) and specifies relationships that can exist between entities (instances of those entity types).
In software engineering, an ER model is commonly formed to represent things a business needs to remember in order to perform business processes. Consequently, the ER model becomes an abstract data model, that defines a data or information structure which can be implemented in a database, typically a relational database.
Entity–relationship modeling was developed for database and design by Peter Chen and published in a 1976 paper, with variants of the idea existing previously, but today it is commonly used for teaching students the basics of data base structure. Some ER models show super and subtype entities connected by generalization-specialization relationships, and an ER model can be used also in the specification of domain-specific ontologies.
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