Patterns capture abstractions of situations that occur frequently in data modeling. Effective use of data modeling patterns can lead to high quality designs and productivity gains. Data modeling patterns are widely available in the public domain, yet there is a lack of studies on usability of such patterns. In this exploratory study we examine the usability of data modeling patterns. Effective use of patterns presupposes the users’ ability to find similarities between task and pattern. We present and evaluate some heuristics for finding the similarities. The results of the empirical evaluation indicate that the heuristics are useful and can lead to accurate solutions. Future research as well as implications for researchers and practitioners is also discussed.