Most incremental mining and online mining algorithms concentrate on finding association rules or patterns consistent with entire current sets of data. Users cannot easily obtain results from only interesting portion of data. This may prevent the usage of mining from online decision support for multidimensional data. To provide ad-hoc, query-driven, and online mining support, we first propose a relation called the multidimensional pattern relation to structurally and systematically store context and mining information for later analysis. Each tuple in the relation comes from an inserted dataset in the database. We then develop an online mining approach called three-phase online association rule mining (TOARM) based on this proposed multidimensional pattern relation to support online generation of association rules under multidimensional considerations. The TOARM approach consists of three phases during which final sets of patterns satisfying various mining requests are found. It first selects and integrates related mining information in the multidimensional pattern relation, and then if necessary, re-processes itemsets without sufficient information against the underlying datasets. Some implementation considerations for the algorithm are also stated in detail. Experiments on homogeneous and heterogeneous datasets were made and the results show the effectiveness of the proposed approach.