Designing and building a knowledge management system involves ensuring that the right facts can be called upon to answer the question at hand, and coordinating a number of disparate resources. Modelling such resources can be problematical as there is currently no formalism that can represent the nature of the data- seeking process at a conceptual level. We introduce the functional entity (FE), an encapsulated data resource that acts as a question-answering system, and identify nine different functional entities based on three main types of question-answer entailment: instance-dominant, value-dominant, and connection-dominant. We use functional entities to develop a generalisation of the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD), the Functional-Entity Relationship Diagram (FERD), which can be used for high level conceptual modelling of heterogeneous KM systems, and illustrate its use with a case study. We also show how the establishment of standard types of functional entity motivates practical guidelines for the conversion of the design to the implementation level.
Pigott, Diarmuid J. and Hobbs, Valerie J., "The Functional-Entity Relationship Diagram: Conceptual Modelling For Complex Knowledge Systems" (2009). ACIS 2009 Proceedings. 13.