Data Modeling Basics
An introduction to data modeling and modeling terminology common to relational and graph databases.

The importance of data modeling

The correct organization of data and the correct definition of the underlying database model or schema are critical to a business. TerminusDB organizes data in an object structure to facilitate modeling a business and the real world generally.

Modeling an organization

Using a small organization as an example, use the steps below to model and define a schema for the organization and its elements - team, project, task, and employee.
Data modeling steps

Element relationship modeling

For relational and graph databases, an entity or element relationship model is a good way of implementing these steps. This helps to identify the components of the schema - its elements, properties, and relationships.

Diagram: An element relationship model

Step 1. Identify the elements of the organization

Elements are similar to entities in relational database terminology.

Table: Elements of an organization

Element
Description
organization
The main organization.
team
The teams within the organization.
employee
The employee assigned to task.
project
The projects that a team creates.
task
The tasks of the project.

Step 2. Identify the properties of each element

Properties are similar to attributes in relational database terminology. A property is an item of data describing the element.

Table: The properties of elements

Element
Properties
organization
name, desc, start-date
team
name, desc, start-date
employee
name, date-of-birth, start-date, role
project
name, start-date, end-date, desc, status
task
name, start-date, end-date, desc, status

Step 3. Identify the relationships between elements

Relationships are the same in graph and relational database terminology. Relationships define the associations or interactions between elements.

Table: The relationship between elements

Element
Element
Relationship (phrasal verb)
Relationship description
organization
team
consists-of
An organization consists of teams
team
project
collaborates-on
A team collaborates-on projects
project
task
divided-into
A project is divided-into tasks
task
employee
assigned-to
A task is assigned-to an employee
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The importance of data modeling
Modeling an organization
Element relationship modeling
Step 1. Identify the elements of the organization
Step 2. Identify the properties of each element
Step 3. Identify the relationships between elements