A relationship, which defines how entities are related, is depicted as a diamond within this Standard as shown in Figure 5-2.
Figure 5-2 RELATIONSHIP CONVENTION
The relationship is read from source to destination entity as indicated by the arrows. The a and b show the source and destination cardinality of the relationship respectively. The following cardinalities are permitted:
a. (a = 1, b = 1)—one source entity is related to one destination entity
b. (a = 1, b = 0-n)—one source entity is related to zero or more destination entities
c. (a = 1, b = 1-n)—one source entity is related to one or more destination entities
d. (a = 1-n, b = 1)—one or more source entities are related to one destination entity
e. (a = 1-n, b = 0-n)—one or more source entities are related to zero or more destination entities
f. (a = 1-n, b = 1-n)—one or more source entities are related to one or more destination entities
In a relationship where (a = 1-n, b = 1-n) the values of the source and destination cardinalities may be different. The value "n" simply denotes one or more.
Note: DICOM has added the use of arrows to the E-R diagramming conventions often used in other literature. This has been done to avoid the possibility of inferring an incorrect relationship which can result from reading a relationship in the reverse order of that intended. For example, a relationship "Cat Catches Mouse" could be read "Mouse Catches Cat" if the arrows were not present.
A relationship may be bi-directional (i.e. the relationship is true in both directions). In such a case, the convention used is arrows pointing toward both the source and the destination entities.