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