Most common database management systems represent information in a simple record-based format. Semantic modeling provides richer data structuring capabilities for database applications. In particular, research in this area has articulated a number of constructs that provide mechanisms for representing structurally complex interrelations among data typically arising in commercial applications. In general terms, semantic modeling complements work on knowledge representation (in artificial intelligence) and on the new generation of database models based on the object-oriented paradigm of programming languages. This paper presents an in-depth discussion of semantic data modeling. It reviews the philosophical motivations of semantic models, including the need for high-level modeling abstractions and the reduction of semantic overloading of data type constructors. It then provides a tutorial introduction to the primary components of semantic models, which are the explicit representation of objects, attributes of and relationships among objects, type constructors for building complex types, ISA relationships, and derived schema components. Next, a survey of the prominent semantic models in the literature is presented. Further, since a broad area of research has developed around semantic modeling, a number of related topics based on these models are discussed, including data languages, graphical interfaces, theoretical investigations, and physical implementation strategies.