Reading and References

Here you will find references to web sites, books, papers, standards, articles, and presentations that I have read and I think you may find of interest. Sometimes I make some comment about the content and why I found it interesting. The references are grouped in broad categories:

  • Information Management
  • Data Modelling
  • Metaphysics
  • Logic and Mathematics
  • Ontology
  • Management

This is an initial somewhat incomplete version.

Information Management

Information management is the broader discipline within which the data modelling that is my speciality lies. Here more general publications, related to e.g. information quality and broad issues are found.

  • Ong, W.J. Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word Methuen, 1988, ISBN 0-415-02796-9

A brilliant book that takes the long view on information - from the start of speech, through hand writing, to printing and the computer. In particular it looks at how the changing technology affects and supports information.

  • Marchand, D.A., Kettinger, W.J., Rollins, J.D. Information Orientation: The link to business performance, Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-19-925221-1

This book demonstrates that successful implementation of information management requires a mixture of soft and hard issues to be addressed, based on an examination of how business leaders perceive the link between information management and business performance. If you want to know why your project is failing, you may find what you are missing in here.

Data Modelling

This is my home territory. These are useful references, or books I found interesting.

  • Simsion, G.C. Witt, G.C. Data Modeling Essentials (third edition), Morgan Kaufmann 2005

This is an excellent book on data modelling from a traditional (non-ontological) perspective, with a good treatment of normalization (including 6th Normal Form)

  • Kent, W. Data and reality: basic assumptions in data processing reconsidered North Holland, 1978, ISBN 0-444-85187-9

This is a seminal work on what the key issues are in data modelling and database design. In EPISTLE I think we pretty much have answers to the questions he poses, but even today more than 20 years after the book was written, that is rare.

  • Barker, Richard CASE*METHOD Entity Relationship Modelling Addison Wesley 1989

An excellent text to introduce data modelling techniques and good practice in general and the Oracle data modelling notation in particular (though I dislike their requirement that subtypes be mutually exclusive).

  • Hay, David. C. Data Model Patterns: Conventions of Thought New York: Dorset House, 1996

A collection of data model patterns for business. So much better than a blank piece of paper! Builds on David Barker's book above.

  • Hay, David. C. Data Model Patterns: A Metadata Map Morgan Kaufmann, 2006

A collection of data model patterns for an Enterprise Architecture based loosely on the Zachmann Framework.


Metphysics is the study of the nature of things, and as such is obviously important for data modelling. The next section, ontology, is really a branch of metaphysics. Under metaphysics I put publications that are mostly talking in plain language about key concepts. Under ontology I put documents where the emphasis is on formalisation of concepts using First Order Logic. There is naturally some overlap between these.

  • Kim, J., Sosa E. Metaphysics: an anthology Blackwell, 1999, ISBN 0-631-20279-X

A collection of papers and excerpts, mostly from work of the last century, in metaphysics. A good place to get a sense of some of the range of thought and rate of progress.

  • Kim, J., Sosa, E. A companion to metaphysics, Blackwell, 1995, ISBN 0-631-19999-3

A useful resource for tracking down difficult terms or get a synopsis of great philosophers.

  • Hawley, Katherine How things persist Oxford: Clarendon Press 2001

A thoughtful comparison of some metaphysical choices and their consequences, particularly comparing 3D and 4D approaches.

  • Sider, Theodore Four Dimensionalism - An Ontology of Persistence and Time 2001 Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-926352-3

This is an authoritative exposition of the four dimensionalist viewpoint. For the major metaphysical choices that can be made, either within a 3D (we wholly exist at each point in time, and move through time, and hence do not have temporal parts) or 4D (we are extended in both space and time, have temporal parts, and only a temporal slice of us exists now) world viewpoint he examines the possibilities and present arguments for a 4D approach and against a 3D approach.

  • Wittgenstein, L. Tractatus logico-philosophicus Routledge, 1921, ISBN 0-415-02825-6

A classic text in philosophy, translated in this edition by Pears and McGuinness.

  • Searle, J.R. The construction of social reality 1995 Penguin Books ISBN-13: 978-0-14-023590-6

A well argued presentation of the ontology of things that are the creation of man's mind, like money and companies.

  • Epstein, Brian The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences Oxford University Press 2015

A significant step forward from Searle's work that looks at groups/organizations, what they are, and how they are grounded and anchored.

  • Lewis, David On the Plurality of Worlds 1986. Oxford & New York: Basil Blackwell ISBN 0-631-13994-X

The standard text on possible worlds

Logic and Mathematics

Logic and mathematics are the foundation for ontology. Here you find publications on First Order Logic, set theory, category theory and other such subjects.

  • Hodges, W. Logic: an introduction to elementary logic Penguin Books, 1977, ISBN 0-14-013636-3

If you are completely new to the study of logic, start here. A very approachable book on the basics of logic.

  • Sowa, J.F. Knowledge Representation: logical, philosophical and computational foundationsBrooks/Cole - Thomson Learning, 2000, ISBN 0-534-94965-7

This book is encyclopedic in its content and touches on most of the key aspects of logic and mathematics relevant to ontology. If you only have one book in this area, this should be it. Gives good references for further reading.

  • Hunter, G. Metalogic: an introduction to the metatheory of standard first order logic University of California Press, 1971, ISBN 0-520-02356

First Order Logic is challenging. This is one of the more approachable books on the subject.

  • Enderton, H. A mathematical introduction to logic Academic Press, 1972, ISBN 0-12-238450-4

This is wideley considered to be THE standard work on First Order Logic. I find it thorough, but very hard work.

  • Suppes, P. Axiomatic set theory Dover Publications Inc, 1972, ISBN 0-486-61630-4

This is an undergraduate text on axiomatic (principally Zermello-Fraenkel) set theory. I am not keen on "standard" set theory, but it is where most people are today, so you should understand it. Set theory in general is widely used as a foundation for the rest of mathematics. My own view is that standard set theory is a panic reaction to Russel's Paradox in not allowing sets to be members of themselves.

  • Aczel, P. Non-well-founded sets CSLI Publications, 1988, ISBN 0-937973-22-9

This is the standard text on non-well-founded-set theory, i.e. a theory that allows sets to be members of themselves. This is the form of set theory that I favour.

  • Lawvere, F.W., Schanuel, S.H. Conceptual mathematics: a first introduction to categories Cambridge University Press, 1991, ISBN 0-521-47817-0

Category theory is not, as the name might suggest, about classifying things. I think category theory is perhaps best described as the mathematics of functions. It is considered to be an alternative to set theory as a foundation for mathematics.


Ontology is that part of metaphysics that deals with the formal representation of concepts and theories about the "world", usually using some flavour of First Order Logic. Ontology can also be seen as the next step from data modelling in representing the world formally.

  • Simons, P. Parts: a study in ontology, Oxford University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-19-924146-5

This is the seminal work on mereology (the study of whole and part). Seeing how complex this could be if a continuant based approach to individuals was adopted helped to convince me that a spatio-temporal approach was worth persevering with.

This is a challenging but important book that explains how a spatio-temporal approach to representing the world works. It also gives much of the philosophical background to the approach. This book, or more particularly its author, persauded me to look into the spatio-temporal approach.


Management is something we all have to do and put up with, even if we would rather not. Here are some publications that have helped to lighten the load for me.

  • Machiavelli, N. The Prince Penguin Books, 1961, ISBN 0-14-044107-7

Machiavelli is much maligned. He only tells it how it is when it comes to the exercise of power, though it might put you off wishing to have power. His principles naturally translate into the modern era.

  • Adams, S. The Dilbert principle Boxtree - Macmillan Publishers, 1997, ISBN 0-7522-2479-0

The Dilbert Principle tells it how it is, and makes you laugh about it. It does also say a few words about how it should be.

  • Adams, S. Dogbert's top secret management handbook Boxtree - Macmillan Publishers, 1996, ISBN 0-7522-1148-X

This book is a catalogue of bad practice. A good idea is to check you are not doing any of these things. It can also help you to spot bad practive when you see it.

  • Working for customers Confederation of British Industry, 1983, ISBN 0-85201-284-5

This short book can be an eye opener on how business should be conducted in a customer focusses way, rather than the organisation centric way that is sometimes still found.

  • Allen, R.E. Winnie-the-Pooh on Management Methuen, 1995, ISBN 0-413-69720-7

This book looks at every day management and is about doing the basics right, i.e. the things that are within your control. These are illustrated by experiences from that well known management guru, Winnie-the-Pooh.

  • Blanchard & Johnson The one minute manager HarperCollins Business, ISBN 0-00-636753-4

A seminal work on how to manage and delegate without micro-managing, and hence release your own time, and both utilise and motivate those working for you.

  • Johnson, S. The one minute sales person HarperCollins Business, 1994, ISBN 0-00-637015-2

We all have to sell, but few people know how to. This book can help you to understand what you need to do and why.