Arguably the most critical of all activities in the development of an information system is that of requirements modelling. The effectiveness of such a specification depends largely on the ability of the chosen conceptual model to represent the problem domain in such a way so as to permit natural and rigorous descriptions within a methodological framework. Recent years have witnessed an increased demand for information systems which cover a wide spectrum of application domains. This, inevitably, has had the effect of demanding conceptual models of enhanced functionality and expressive power than is currently possible in practice. This paper introduces the TEMPORA modelling paradigm for developing information system applications from a unified perspective which deals with definitional, intentional and constrain knowledge. The paper discusses in detail one of the components of the TEMPORA conceptual model, the entity-relationship-time (ERT) model, which deals with structural aspects including time and complex objects modelling. © 1991.