Get Your Geek On with

OK, we all know that we data modelers are, well – different. Our cubicles and offices are decorated with wall charts filled with entity-relationship diagrams. We use words like “cardinality” and “normal form” in daily conversation. We interrupt our co-workers with clarifications such as, “What do you mean, exactly, when you say customer”? And, as a result, our co-workers might find us a bit “quirky.” While some of us our fortunate enough to have a team of fellow data architects in our organizations with whom to wax poetic about the value of strong exclusive subtype relationships, many of us may feel alone in the organization. We are the lone voice in the battle to protect the world from redundant data.

That’s where the online community at comes in. The data modeling community across the globe is a rich resource of expertise, experience, and practical advice. With the advent of Web 2.0 technology and social media, it is now possible to connect this worldwide “center of excellence” in ways never before possible. We no longer have to rely only on the co-workers in our office – we can ask a question from Helsinki and have an answer from Taipei in a matter of hours using online forums. We can connect on a personal, one-on-one basis with some of the key thought leaders in data management through blogs and discussions.

The team at CA ERwin have been thought leaders in the data modeling space for over twenty years. Having recently celebrated their 20th birthday, they wanted to give something back to the community. Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s Hobbit series gave away gifts on his own birthday. In a similar vein, CA ERwin wanted to give back to the data modeling community with the creation of an online community for information sharing. Because of the unique and specialized nature of our industry, it’s important to have a single source for information sharing. Cyclists have, golfers have, singles looking for that special someone have and a myriad of dating sites. Data professionals now have Going beyond traditional “vendor-centric” information, CA ERwin has created a broader community site that is intended to encourage discussion on the hot topics around data modeling and data management.

In the words of ERwin User Group member Francine Adams in a recent Miami Examiner article, the “CA ERwin website is a data modeler’s dream.” She adds, “This is a data modeler’s dream, because, if you know any data modelers you are probably aware they are the most unappreciated ‘designers’ in most any corporation. Most data modelers can give testimonials about incidents of giving their best expert commentary in a development session only to be met with blank stares and not even honorable mention, after a project’s completion. So having a website devoted to data modelers has to be the next best thing to having their own kingdom.”

What does this “kingdom” consist of? The following are some of the highlights:

Discussion Forums allow you to ask questions of your fellow users, and share your knowledge for hands-on “how-tos.” Stuck on a difficult data modeling issue? The online discussion forum allows lets ask your peers for help.

Expert Blogs from industry thought leaders such as Alec Sharp, Malcolm Chisholm, Steve Hoberman, and Tom Haughey. Thought-provoking topics such as “Gorilla vs. Guerilla Modeling” and “How Data Modeling is Like Aspirin” are meant to encourage feedback and discussion from readers. We look forward to hearing your input!

User-Contributed Tips and Techniques: Share best practices and implementation tips. A contest is currently running where you can win an iPod Touch for sharing your ideas. Readers are given the opportunity to vote on their favorite contributions.

Social Media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn let you keep track of what’s going on in the data modeling community via “Web 2.0” venues.

Photos from events and user group meetings. We rarely, if ever, get to see some of our online colleagues. These fun photos are a great way to keep in touch. Our favorite data management professional is shown below. He’s clearly been working out these days!


This Community will become more and more valuable as data management professionals add their input and expertise. So please visit and share your ideas. Let’s be proud of our unique data modeling community and “get our geek on” with


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