Contextual partitioning for comprehension of OODB schemas
Object-oriented databases (OODBs) have been utilized for complex modeling tasks within a variety of application domains. The OODB schema, typically expressed in a graphical notation, can serve as a useful presentation tool for the information contained in the underlying OODB. However, such a schema can be a large, complex network of classes and relationships. This may greatly hinder its effectiveness in helping users gain an understanding of the OODB's contents and data organization. To facilitate this orientation process, a theoretical framework is presented that guides the refinement of an existing schema's subclass-of relationship hierarchy - the backbone of any OODB. The framework sets forth three rules which, when satisfied, lead to the establishment of a collection of contexts, each of which exhibits an internal subclass-of tree structure. A formal proof of this result is presented. An algorithmic methodology, involving a human-computer interaction, describes how the approach can be applied to a given OODB schema. An application of the methodology to an example OODB schema is included.