A data model is a model that describes in an abstract way how data is represented in an information system or a database. In general it describes the following aspects:
- Structure: defines what the structure of the representation is. This should not only specify how data is represented but also how a schema can be specified that defines the structure of the data in a specific user domain.
- Integrity: provides a language for the definition of rules that restrict which instances of the defined structure are allowed.
- Manipulation: provides a language in which updates of the data can be expressed.
- Querying: provides a language in which the data can be queried.
Other examples are the Functional Data Model, the Entity-Relationship Model and the Object Role Model although these usually only describe a small subset of the aspects described above.