Reference model

reference model in systems , enterprise , and software engineering is an abstract framework or domain-specific ontology consisting of an interlinked set of clearly defined concepts produced by an expert or body of experts in order to encourage clear communication. A reference model can represent the component parts of any consistent idea, from business functions to system components, as long as it represents a complete set. This frame of reference can be used to communicate ideas of the same community.

Reference models are often illustrated as a set of concepts with some indication of the relationship between concepts.


According to the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) a reference model is “an abstract framework for the understanding of a relationship between the environment and the environment”. it is intended to be used as a basis for the application of the principles of a non-specialist common semantics that can be used unambiguously across and between different implementations. ” [1]

There are a number of concepts rolled up into that of a ‘reference model.’ Each of these concepts is important:

  • Abstract : a reference model is abstract. It provides information about the environment of a certain kind. A reference model describes the type of entities that may occur in such an environment. For example, when describing the architecture of a particular house, an actual exterior wall may have dimensions and materials, but the concept of a wall (type of entity) is part of the reference model . One must understand the concept of a wall in order to build a house that has walls.
  • Entities and relationships : A reference model describes both types of entities (things that exist) and their relationships (how they connect, interact with one another, and exhibit properties). A list of entity types, by itself, does not provide sufficient information to serve as a reference model.
  • Within an environment : A reference model does not attempt to describe “all things.” A reference model is used to clarify “things within an environment” or a problem space. To be useful, a reference model should include a clear description of the problem that it solves, and the concerns of the stakeholders who need to see the problem get solved.
  • Technology agnostic : A reference model is useful for a specific computing environment. A reference model typically is intended to promote understanding of a class of problems, and not specific solutions for those problems. As such, it is necessary to use the process of imagining and evaluating a variety of potential solutions in order to assist the practitioner. Note: That does not preclude the development of a software application, because the problem can be caused by a software application.

The uses of a reference model

There are many uses for a reference model. One use is to create standards for both the models and their relationships. By creating standards, the work of engineers and developers that need to be made easier. Software can be written that meets a standard, and developers can copy that software to use it again, or build a software factory that generates that code. When done well, it is possible to use the design of software in such a way that it can not be expected.

Another use of reference model is to educate. Using a reference model, a leader in software development can help you to understand a problem that can be understood, tackled, and refined. Ers…………………………………………………… The level of trust is important to allow software developers to efficiently focus on their work.

A third use of a reference model is to improve communication between people. A reference model breaks up a problem into entities, or “things that exist all by themselves.” This is often an explicit recognition of concepts, but it is often used in this way, but it is often used in this way. This improves communication between individuals involved in these concepts.

A fourth use of a reference model is to create clear roles and responsibilities. By creating a model of entities and their relationships, an organization or specific task or team, making them responsible for solving specific issues. For example, if a reference model is used to create a balanced scorecard , then each measurement can be assigned to a specific business leader. That allows a senior manager to be responsible for producing high quality results.

A fifth use of a reference model is to allow the comparison of different things. By breaking up a problem in basic concepts, a reference model can be used to examine two different solutions to that problem. In doing so, the component parts of a solution can be discussed in relation to one another. For example, if a reference model discloses a computer model that uses a customer ‘s guide, then a reference model can be used to determine which of five different software products to purchase, based on their needs. A reference model, in this example, could be used to compare the solutions of a particular business process.


Instances of reference models include, among others:

  • Agent Systems Reference Model ,
  • Core Architecture Model Model Reference Model of DoDAF
  • Federal Enterprise Framework Reference Model of the FEA
  • HP Information Security Service Management (ISSM) – Reference Model (RM)
  • IBM Information Framework , a reference model for financial services.
  • NIST Enterprise Architectures Model Reference Models from Several Federal Enterprise Architectures
  • OGC Reference Model (Open Geospatial Consortium),
  • OpenReference , a open reference model for business performance, processes and practices, [2]
  • Open Systems Interconnection Basic Reference Model ,
  • Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture
  • Real-Time Control System for real-time control problems
  • Reference Model of Open Distributed Processing ,
  • TAFIM was the 1990 reference model of the earlier version of the DoDAF , and
  • Von Neumann architecture as a reference model for sequential computing,
  • Digital Library Reference Model; [3] [4]
  • ENVR (Environmental Research Infrastructure) Reference Model; [5]

See also

  • Business reference model
  • Open System Environment Reference Model
  • Reference architecture


  1. Jump up^ “OASIS SOA Reference Model” . OASIS SOA Technical Committee . Retrieved 2014-10-13 .
  2. Jump up^ OpenReference Initiative:OpenReference frameworks, December 2016
  3. Jump up^ L. Candela, G. Athanasopoulos, D. Castelli, K. El Raheb, P. Innocenti, Y. Ioannidis, A. Katifori, A. Nika, G. Vullo, Ross S.:The Digital Library Reference Model. April 2011 (PDF)
  4. Jump up^ L. Candela et al .:The DELOS Digital Library Model Reference – Foundations for Digital Libraries. Version 0.98, February 2008 (PDF)
  5. Jump up^ Y. Chen, Martin P., Schentz H., Magagna B., Zhao Z, Hardisty A., Preece A., Atkinson M.

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