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Term: Use case

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Term: Use case


Use cases are often employed in information technology systems design and engineering. They describe the desired response of a system when it receives external requests. The technique is used to develop the behavioral requirements for a system by describing numerous functional scenarios. Each use case characterizes the interaction between an actor (which may be a human user, another system, or a hardware device that initiates an action) and the system. Use cases typically represent the function as a sequence of simple steps. Each use case is a complete series of events, as seen from the actor's point of view.

Use cases in their full, formal sense are often associated with the Unified Modeling Language (UML), the Rational Unified Process (RUP), and Systems Modeling Language (SysML). Their application increased during the 1990s, especially among those who employ object-oriented design and programming.

Simple, informal use cases may also be applied in various settings. Some of the planning documents being drafted by the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative provide use cases as a form of explanation. For example, the objectives for still imaging (still in draft form at this writing) are stated as simple use cases, e.g., "patron makes a hard copy of one or more images for personal use."

Wikipedia article on use cases
Wikipedia article on Unified Modeling Language
Wikipedia article on Systems Modeling Language
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