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This page describes the concept of Attribute used in Context Data Model 1.0 and Context Data Model 2.0


  • Is a property of an Entity (or Context).
  • Has one or more values all of which MUST be unique
  • Has either simple or complex value(s)
  • Simple values:
    • Are literal values (e.g. "green") based on a "base" XML Schema type URI (e.g. string)
    • The allowed value(s) are defined by a Data Range (URI)
  • Complex values are Entities
  • Are identified by an AttributeId.
    • In CDM 2.0 this attribute id is a UDI.
    • In CDM 1.X it is described it is a string or a UDI.

Relationship to RDF/OWL

  • The values of an attribute are the union of all objects O found in all RDF {subject, predicate, object} triples {S, P, O} such that S is the id of the Entity (or Context) in question and P is the AttributeId

Kinds of Attributes Defined in CDM


The person Bob Smith might be represented as an Entity in the Context of his employer, the Port Control Authority. This Entity might have the following types of Attributes (and associated values) in this Context:

  • email-address = <-- in this case the string "email-address" is the AttributeId
  • phone number = {617-555-1234, 617-333-4321} <-- multi-valued attribute example
  • passport information = ...etc.
  • fingerprint data = ...etc.
  • surname = "Smith"

The surname Attribute in the example above might have a type of The schema associated with the containing Context provides metadata about this URI.

This same Bob Smith might also be represented as an Entity in a "customer-to-Clothes-R-Us" Context (this customer's relationship with the Clothes-R-Us merchant. In this Context Bob has these Attributes:

  • platinumCustomer = True
  • preferredColor = "blue"


  1. An Attribute cannot have N>1 values if the values are the same. For example a very odd father might name each of his three kids "frank". Thus the father Entity cannot have an attribute "names-of-children" whose values are "frank, frank, frank".

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