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Fully Communication Oriented Information Modeling (FCO-IM) is a method for building conceptual information models. Such models can then be automatically transformed into entity-relationship models (|ERM), Unified Modeling Language (UML), relational or dimensional models with the FCO-IM Bridge toolset, and it is possible to generate complete end-user applications from them with the IMAGine toolset. Both toolsets were developed by the Research and Competence Group Data Architectures & Metadata Management of the HAN University of Applied Sciences in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
FCO-IM is widely taught in the Netherlands and worldwide, amongst which are three major universities of Professional Education in the Netherlands: Hogeschool Amsterdam, Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen and Saxion. The method has proven its value, and is still actively used in multiple large-scale corporate environments, among which were and are corporates like KLM, Abn Amro, Sandia National Laboraties, Erasmus Medical Centre, ProRail.
The distinguishing feature of FCO-IM is that it models the communication about a certain Universe of Discourse (UoD) completely and exclusively, i.e.: it does not model the UoD itself, but rather the facts users exchange when they communicate about the UoD. FCO-IM is therefore a member of the family of information modeling techniques known as fact-oriented modeling (FOM), as are object-role modeling (ORM), predicator set model (PSM) and natural language information analysis method (NIAM).
There are two main reasons why FCO-IM claims to be "fully communication-oriented".
- FCO-IM is the only FOM technique that completely incorporates the actual verbalizations of facts by domain experts (fact expressions) in an information model. An FCO-IM model therefore contains the soft semantics – i.e.: the meaning of the facts – as well as the hard semantics – i.e.: the fact types and the constraints. These verbalizations can be regenerated verbatim at any time from an FCO-IM model, for validation and verification purposes.
- FCO-IM uses a very simple and small set of meta-concepts, by abolishing the unnecessary distinction between fact types and object types: all object types are fact types as well. In other words: object types are not modeled independently from the communication, but as inextricable parts of the communication itself; FCO-IM never leaves the communication domain.
Consequently, FCO-IM is the only conceptual modeling technique that completely complies with the 100% conceptualization principle.
- Bakema, Guido; Zwart, Jan Pieter; van der Lek, Harm (2002). Fully Communication Oriented Information Modeling (FCO-IM) (PDF). FCO-IM Consultancy., English translation of: Volledig Communicatiegeoriënteerde Informatiemodellering, Academic Service
- Griethuysen, J.J. (1982) editor, Concepts and terminology for the conceptual schema and the information base, Publ. nr. ISO/TC97/SCS-N695