A Collaborative Schema Integration System
Conceptual modelling as applied to database development can be described as a two stage process: schema modelling followed by schema integration. Schema modelling is the process of transforming individual user requirements into a conceptual schema: an implementation-independent map of data requirements. Schema integration is the process of combining individual conceptual schemas into a single, unified schema. Single-user tools for schema modelling have enjoyed much success partly because the process of schema modelling has become relatively well formalised. Although a number of formal approaches to conducting schema integration have been proposed, it appears that schema integration tools have not enjoyed the same level of success. This we attribute not so much to the problem of formalisation but to the inherent collaborative nature of schema integration work. This paper first discusses the importance of collaboration to schema integration work. It then describes SISIBIS, a demonstrator system employing the IBIS (Issue Based Information System) scheme to support collaborative database design.