The Enhanced ER Model

As the complexity of data increased in the late 1980s, it became more and more difficult to use the traditional ER Model for database modelling. Hence some improvements or enhancements were made to the existing ER Model to make it able to handle the complex applications better.

Hence, as part of the Enhanced ER Model, along with other improvements, three new concepts were added to the existing ER Model, they were:

  1. Generalization
  2. Specialization
  3. Aggregration

Let's understand what they are, and why were they added to the existing ER Model.


Generalization

Generalization is a bottom-up approach in which two lower level entities combine to form a higher level entity. In generalization, the higher level entity can also combine with other lower level entities to make further higher level entity.

It's more like Superclass and Subclass system, but the only difference is the approach, which is bottom-up. Hence, entities are combined to form a more generalised entity, in other words, sub-classes are combined to form a super-class.

generalization in ER model

For example, Saving and Current account types entities can be generalised and an entity with name Account can be created, which covers both.


Specialization

Specialization is opposite to Generalization. It is a top-down approach in which one higher level entity can be broken down into two lower level entity. In specialization, a higher level entity may not have any lower-level entity sets, it's possible.

Specialization in ER Model


Aggregration

Aggregration is a process when relation between two entities is treated as a single entity.

aggregration

In the diagram above, the relationship between Center and Course together, is acting as an Entity, which is in relationship with another entity Visitor. Now in real world, if a Visitor or a Student visits a Coaching Center, he/she will never enquire about the center only or just about the course, rather he/she will ask enquire about both.