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An Introduction to Database Systems 7 Sub Edition

33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201385908
ISBN-10: 0201385902
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Editorial Reviews Review

The newest edition of the classic An Introduction to Database Systems incorporates the latest developments in relational databases, including semantic modeling, decision support, and temporal modeling. There's better information on distributed databases, security, and the mathematics of relational databases too. With the same strong coverage of fundamental theory that made its predecessors stand out, this book ranks as the definitive textbook for those studying database systems.

This is an extraordinarily academic book. In his preface, C.J. Date goes so far as to lament having to use Structured Query Language (SQL) in some of his examples because it's "so far from being a true embodiment of relational principles." What's more, he writes in a very academic style, peppering his heavily footnoted prose with mathematical expressions and words like relevar and tuple. The academic style and highbrow language isn't a bad thing, since this book deals with complicated, largely abstract phenomena in depth.

Be aware that An Introduction to Database Systems is a far cry from the highly graphical, problem-focused books that target the community of commercial database developers, and as such requires more careful study. This book is about theories, concepts, and ideals rather than problems, solutions, and specific implementations. Per se, it will enable you to become a better database programmer--but only if you supplement it with practical guides and hands-on experience. --David Wall


"Chris Date is the computer industry's most respected expert and thinker on database technology, and his book An Introduction to Database Systems continues to be the definitive work for those wanting a comprehensive and current guide to database systems." -- Colin J. White, Founder, DataBase Associates International, Inc. "...both an indispensable read and an indispensable reference. No serious information systems or database practitioner should be without this book." -- Declan Brady, MBCS, Systems Architect and Database Specialist, ICL "[The book's] greatest appeal is its comprehensiveness and the fact that it is very up-to-date with research developments. The latter factor is due mainly to [Date's] involvement with these developments, which gives him a unique opportunity to write about them." -- David Livingstone, University of Northumbria at Newcastle "A truly comprehensive, state-of-the-art coverage of the Relational Model, written in the clear and precise style that characterizes Date." -- Sudha Ram, University of Arizona "The author's deep insights into the area, informal treatment of profound topics, open-ended discussions of critical issues, comprehensive and up-to-date contents, as well as rich annotations on bibliography have made the book most popular in the database area for more than two decades. -- Qiang Zhu, The University of Michigan-Dearborn "C. J. Date's book presents, SQL facilities more clearly and in greater detail than other books. Readers can learn both theorems and acquire knowledge for practical work from this book." -- Huizhu Lu, Oklahoma State University "One thing which I have always found good about Date's text is the set of references at the end of each chapter. These references reflect both historical and recent research and provide a good source of information for the interested reader." -- Tim Hartley, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Hartford

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Product Details

  • Series: Introduction to Database Systems
  • Hardcover: 938 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman; 7 Sub edition (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201385902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201385908
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 108 people found the following review helpful By DTC# on January 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read an earlier edition of the book back in the mid 90s. At the time, that was the first serious book on relational database theory I read. I thought the earlier edition was a great introduction to the topic. It was a tough "college textbook" read, but well worth it.
I would no longer recommend the latest version as an introductory text. One gripe is Date's introduction of his own language "Tutorial-D" to explain and illustrate concepts. There is no one place in the book you can go to for a comprehensive description of Tutorial-D. Instead, snippets of it are peppered throughout the text. Another gripe: he can be long-winded and pedantic, and he uses phrases like "mutatis mutandi." I understand he is a man with a mission to be exacting and precise. But somehow, he seems to have overdone it in this edition.
The latest edition has many new chapters on object-relational, temporal databases, logic databases, and decision support systems. These are very convenient overviews, as always, filtered through Date's unerring and zealous devotion to the underlying relational theory.
I think if you already understand relational theory and you are a practitioner in the field, this is still a comprehensive "must have book." But if you are starting out, you will want a kinder-and-gentler introduction. The "love-it-or-hate-it" reviews seems to support this viewpoint.
I rated it 4 stars because (1) it is a classic (2) it is comprehensive (3) it is a reference work that any serious practitioner will want and (4) it has extensive and well-annotated references at the end of each chapter.
I withheld the 5th star for the gripes I mentioned above.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By David Gillies on November 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
(Note this review applies to the sixth edition of this book).
If you wish to quickly jump into database design without a full and rigorous knowledge of database theory (by no means a bad thing) then this book is not for you. If, however, you want a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of database theory considered from an academic standpoint, then this book is highly recommended.
Date is one of the giant figures of relational database theory, and this masterful work covers, in exhaustive detail, all the elementary principles of the subject. The book commences with an overview of database systems and management, before moving on to introduce the relational model. Part II of the book covers in great detail the relational model, introducing the relational algebra and the relational calculus (and then showing the formal equivalence of the two). The SQL language is introduced.
Part III discusses database design, with special emphasis on the vital topics of nonloss decomposition, functional dependencies and normalisation. For practical database designers this is perhaps the most valuable part of the book. Part IV covers data protection from the standpoints of integrity and implementation in practical systems.
Part V gathers a miscellany of related topics such as optimization of queries, a discussion of the 'NULL' problem and an introduction to ditributed (i.e. client/server) database systems. Part VI is an introduction to object-oriented database systems, with an examination of the problems faced by traditional relational systems when faced with object-oriented problems.
It is important to note the target audience for this book. This book is first and foremost academic by nature. Rigour is not sacrificed for conciseness or simplicity.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Hennie Potgieter on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
An introduction to Database systems is an excellent work and to call this work an introduction is misleading (Date explains in the preface why he chose to call it an introduction). The work is theoretically extremely dense and it requires a lot of effort to fully understand all the concepts that Date treats really exhaustively throughout the book. The book gives in-depth insight into database design concepts and it breaks every term and concept down to the bone.
The style in wich the book is written makes for pleasant reading and Date's use of the English language is brilliant. Date is certainly a master of database theory and I can recommend this book to everybody who is serious about the underlying concepts of the relational database model. As an academical textbook - this book is not intended for undergraduate study but for post-graduate study it is a winner.
If there is one thing that I can complain about it is that the book sheds too few light on the theory of database optimization. I hope that the 8th Ed. will also cover this topic more extensively.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the best technical book I have ever read (and I have read many). This book was required for a graduate school database class at Carnegie Mellon. Although I read the class required chapters, I found little time to really read the book while in school. Since graduation (I am now a consultant) I have returned to this book constantly. It is the perfect text for those who want a solid and analytical background in the subject of relational databases. I have spoken with other classmates from CMU who feel it is the most valuable book they have. C. J. Date, one of the leaders in this field, covers relational theory, relational algebra and calculus, database design, ERD's, as well as SQL. I would encourage readers to set up the sample SUPPLIER-ORDERS-PARTS database to really leverage the examples used in the text. This book will have a longer life than any other technical book you ever purchase. A must have.
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