Top level CB-NL

Last modified by Linda van den Brink on 2015/04/21 16:13

Top level classes

The previous sections of this modeling guide describe the language used for modeling CB-NL concepts (OWL), and the guidelines for using that language. With the aid of this language and these guidelines we can start filling the CB-NL with concepts. It is however wise to do some (limited) pre-modeling for the top-level of CB-NL. With ‘top-level’ we mean a set of global and/or generic concepts that all specific concepts added by future modelers have to “stay under”, thus forming the framework for a taxonomy, i.e. a classification hierarchy.

The top level of CB-NL (together with the modeling language and modeling guidelines) should give the modeler exactly the right amount of freedom:

  • Not too much, as this would result in getting incompatible results from different modelers, and
  • Not too little, limiting his/her needs for expression.

 It is based on international standards:

  • ISO 12006-2 “Building construction -- Organization of information about construction works -- Part 2: Framework for classification of information”
  • ISO 15926-2: "Industrial automation systems and integration -- Integration of life-cycle data for process plants including oil and gas production facilities -- Part 2: Data model"
  • ISO 15926-11: "Industrial automation systems and integration -- Integration of life-cycle data for process plants including oil and gas production facilities -- Part 11: Methodology for simplified industrial usage of reference data"

The top level presented here is a stable version (as of April 2015) fed by insights from the content working groups, who have created the initial content of the CB-NL. The top level should accommodate all concepts the working groups want to add to CB-NL.

The top level consists of these generic concepts:


As is shown here, the most abstract level of CB-NL is the concept 'Thing', which is anything that is or may be thought about or perceived, including material and non-material objects, ideas, and actions. Below 'Thing', there are three top level concepts which are still very generic. They  are Object, Collection, and Property. 


An Object in CB-NL is any part of the perceivable or conceivable world. Most CB-NL concepts belong to this class (i.e. one of its subclasses). The class "Object" has ten sub classes in the top level:


  • Abstract Object - Thing that does not exist in space-time. Its only subclass in the top level is Relationship. It has other subclasses, which are however not part of the top level.
  • Concrete Object - Thing that exists in space and time.
  • Spatial Object - Space defined by built or natural environment or both, intended for user activity or equipment.
  • Organization - An organized group of people with a particular purpose. For example, user organizations or contractors. It has no subclasses in the top level.
  • Process - One or more individual activities or events, that are ordered in time, that have sequence relationships with other processes, which transform input in output, and may connect to other other processes through input output relationships. 
  • Stream - A stream is a Concrete Object that is material or energy moving along a path, where the path is the basis of identity and may be constrained. The stream consists of the temporal parts of those things that are in the stream whilst they are in it. Examples: road traffic, a water stream.  
  • Activity - An activity is something happening or changing. For example, opening or closure.
  • Event - Events are defined as space-time extensions with zero time extension.
  • System - A regularly interacting or interdependent group of concrete objects forming a unified whole intended to enable the execution of a specified function. For example, a transport system such as a rail network, or an installation system.
  • Information Object - The combinations of the recognizable patterns and their presentation styles.


A Collection in CB-NL is a grouping of some variable number of objects that have some shared significance. In other words, in the CB-NL, collections are a way to group concepts in a non-hierarchical way. A concept can be a member of several collections. 

The Collections themselves are stored in the CB-NL. This is why the Collection class is present at the top level. It has no sub classes in the top level.

See also Collections.


A property in CB-NL is a thing whose member individuals have the same degree or magnitude of a quality or characteristic.In the CB-NL properties are modeled as classes. The class of properties is divided into eight sub classes in the top level.


  • Spatial Property - Any property relating to or occupying space.
  • Temporal Property - A property relating to time. 
  • Intrinsic Property - A property of a thing itself or within.
  • Experiential Property - A property involving or based on experience and observation.
  • Administrative Property - A property relating to the way a thing is managed.
  • Functional Property - A property relating to the way a thing functions.
  • Unsorted Property - Placeholder for unsorted properties.
  • Symbolic Property - A mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object.

See also the Property guidelines.

Created by Linda van den Brink on 2014/09/18 10:18

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