Data Acquisition Systems (DAS) are the basis for building monitoring tools that enable the supervision of local and remote systems. DASs are complex systems. It is difficult for developers to compare proprietary generic DAS products and/or standards, and the design of a specific DAS is costly. In this thesis we propose an implementation independent specification, based on conceptual and role-based use case modeling, of a generic architecture for DASs. This generic DAS specification gives DAS developers an abstraction of DASs; it enables them to compare existing DAS products and standards; and it provides the DAS developers that aim to develop a specific DAS with a starting point for the design of a specific DAS. A generic system specification has many advantages. We propose patterns and techniques that are useful for the development of specifications of generic systems. Additionally, the generic DAS specification provides a case study on the development, based on conceptual and role-based use case modeling, of implementation independent specifications of generic systems that demonstrates, by means of an industrial example, the advantages of these techniques for the development of specifications of generic systems. The work of this thesis has been sponsored by the FNRS (Swiss National Science Foundation)1, ABB Corporate Research Ltd. (Switzerland), EPFL, and the University of Mondragon. ------------------------------ 1 In the frame of the NePESM (New Paradigms for Embedded Systems Management) project of the SPP-ICS (Swiss Priority Programme for Information and Communications Structures, 1996-1999) programme.