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Concept and Object Modeling Notation (COMN)

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The universe is occupied by objects: relatively stable configurations of matter. Objects have physical states, most of which are meaningless. A computer is composed of a large number of objects whose states we can manipulate. We use those otherwise meaningless states to represent data, concepts, and other objects.


These simple observations are at the core of the Concept and Object Modeling Notation, or COMN (pronounced “common”), a graphical notation for modeling data, software, and meaning. COMN is more fully described in the book NoSQL and SQL Data Modeling: Bringing Together Data, Software, and Semantics, by Ted Hills (Technics Publications, 2016). This page is your source for free resources that enable you to use COMN to design and describe data and software.

To keep up-to-date with COMN as it develops, follow Theodore Hills on LinkedIn. See below for training opportunities.

Reference and Stencil Downloads

COMN 1.1 Reference:

COMN 1.1 Stencil:

COMN 1.1 Reference Sheet contributed by Paul Rogers

White Papers


Additional Resources

  • Blogs by Ted on The Data Administration Newsletter (TDAN.com)



About the author

Ted Hills has been active in the Information Technology industry since 1975, moving gradually up through device drivers and operating systems to communications software, applications, and finally information architecture. His employers have included AT&T Bell Laboratories, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. At LexisNexis, Ted co-leads the work of establishing enterprise data architecture standards and governance processes, working with data models and business and data definitions for both structured and unstructured data. Prior to joining LexisNexis, Ted was the Enterprise Information Architecture Executive for Bank of America, where he led several enterprise reference data and data warehouse projects. Ted's work spans the spectrum from conceptual design to database and software implementation. Ted has always been an active researcher, with interests in software and data integration, data modeling notations, and improving the expressivity of languages while keeping them type-safe.