Elements of Relational Database Design
This book provides a concise presentation of the basic principles of database design. It deals with the widely accepted core definitions and conclusions that can be precisely stated and proven. Most of the topics covered are essential to the concluding chapter on "normalization" — a knowledge of which is crucial for avoiding problematic database designs.
In addition to brevity, the structure of the book is meant to minimize page turning by making it unnecessary to flip back to previous pages. For example, to allow the reader to view all the information on a topic at once, the text appears on the left and the corresponding examples on the right of facing pages.
The book consists of five chapters as follows: The first two describe the basic techniques of modeling the real world with a database. Chapter Three covers common "operations" one can do with a database. Most of these operations pertain to using rather than designing a database; however, a few of them are also crucial for design. "Dependency and decomposition" — important in their own right and also required for the final chapter — receive a comprehensive treatment in Chapter Four. The book concludes with Chapter Five's coverage of normalization where the levels of good database design are defined along with procedures for attaining these levels. Also, problems that can occur when a database is not at a given level are described and illustrated by examples.
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