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Data Modeling Essentials, Third Edition 3rd Edition

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0126445510
ISBN-10: 0126445516
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Editorial Reviews


"The perfect balance of theory and practice, giving the reader both the foundation and the tools to deliver high-quality data models."
-Karen Lopez, Principal, InfoAdvisors, Inc.

"The complete guide to data modeling for the reflective practitioner. Students like this book and so do I -- it is clear and accessible without sacrificing rigor."
-Professor Graeme Shanks, School of Business Systems, Monash University, Australia

"A unique, practical and comprehensive guide, providing an invaluable resource to anyone involved in data modeling from the novice to the expert data modeler."
-Len Silverston, author of The Data Model Resource Book, Volumes 1 and 2.

"Includes an extraordinary amount of good, useful, and well articulated information about the field."
-David Hay, President, Essential Strategies, Inc. and author of Data Model Patterns

"Data Modeling Essentials is a fresh look at an old topic...much more accesible and refreshing in its tone and attitude. Simsion's explanations are very clear and his examples easy to follow...This book is useful for both beginners and experienced data modelers who want a new innovative approach to the important task of documenting data requirements." - The Bridge --Barbara A. Carkenord

"The book is extremely well-written. It is humorous at times, full of useful anecdotes, and follows a very logical sequence...In summary, I found Data Modeling Essentials, Third Edition, very useful for data modelers at any level of experience." - DM Review

Book Description

A popular classic, substantially revised and expanded.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 3rd edition (November 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0126445516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0126445510
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Vince Kenyon on May 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Excellent practical introduction to data modeling in the relational paradigm using entity-relationship techniques. Detailed and instructive discussions weighing the relative merits of alternative models for scenarios. Positions data modeling within the context of developing information systems for business. Real-world, messy examples of the kinds of problems and errors that can arise-some of them a bit contrived, but usually to make a good point. A number of respectable sources footnoted, but unfortunately no bibliography.
Proposes evaluation criteria for measuring model quality. Admits conflict among these criteria-all desirable attributes of a model cannot be optimized simultaneously. Trade-offs must be made. Recognizes the limits of data modeling: "Don't try to solve every problem by developing a conventional data model (p. 265)."
Emphasizes that data modeling, although often confused with analysis, is not analysis. It is design. There is no one correct model for every scenario. Advocates using creativity to propose multiple alternative models before selecting a solution. Establishes the role of the data modeler by analogy with that of a residential architect.
Interestingly, goes on to say that the distinction between analysis and design is important-without ever drawing it. Does not describe data "analysis," if such a thing even exists.
Differentiates between data model and database design. Mainly because the paradigm used to represent the data while modeling it with the database customer (relational tables & columns, in this case) might differ from the paradigm that the database uses to represent it (network or hierarchy, perhaps).
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Karen Lopez on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Simsion and Witt's _Data Modeling Essentials_ has been a classic on my data management bookshelf since the first edition. Now in the 3rd Edition, this work has become even more valuable and useful on data management projects. The fact that the authors continue to enhance and expand their work is a real asset.

This work is targeted at both students and experienced information technology professionals.

...and, of course, any data modeling book that manages to quote from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", Stephen Covey's _7 Habits of Highly Effective People_, Bob Dylan's "Brownsville Girl", and even Jack Kerouac must be a good read, right?

Let's start with what I really like about this book:

1) _Essentials_ starts at the beginning "What is a Data Model" and works its way through entities, attributes, subtypes, ERDs, normalization and all the basics through to fairly advanced topics such as the use of surrogate keys, transformations, designing for performance, time dependence and advanced normalization. Simsion and Witt make this trek in a balanced and clearly-explained manner. This is no _...For Dummies_ type work - it is a true professional level book that consistently targets the whys, why-nots, how-much and when-to-stops of data modeling.

2) Along the way, the authors refer to multiple methods, notations, and tools, while sticking with a single notation throughout. I much prefer data modeling books like _Essentials_ that use the most common notation in modeling, as these books are more useful in a variety of contexts over those that use more obscure notations. I can see how this edition has updated references to tool features and modeling support.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David F. Wiebe on January 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
The most valuable book I own about data modelling.

Covers all the basics one needs to know if they are going to talk about data modelling and what it really means and what is involved. And if you are expected to actually do the data modelling, even better, it provides coverage on all the things you should include, or at least consider, as well as some insights on how you are going to show the value and importance of being able to model your data.

Even a seasoned modeller like myself wants to refer to a solid piece of reference material to ensure I'm doing the right thing and that I'm not forgetting anything.

I was very happy to see a section on Conceptual Data Modelling as I find myself spending more time in this space getting the business to recognise that 'they' own this model, and they should identify and define all their business attributes here. That way when the database, or data interface, needs to be built the logical model can be created using these conceptual models as a reference point... should be less argument on what that column in the database really means!

So many more highlights... but maybe I'm just a fanatic about data... it's my coffee table book.

Thanks Graeme and Graham.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book casually at first, thinking that it would merely confirm what I knew, since I was finishing up a database certification program. So when it pushed me to think harder, I put it away. HOWEVER, I recently returned to the book after some experience with Paradox for DOS, and I now see the light. It took real work to get through the first two chapters--about three hours for me--but I am glad that I have revisited this book and can tell everyone to (1) get it if they are serious about database design and (2) finish the lessons, even if they seem difficult or if they don't serve up simple rules right away. Simsion makes you really think about data organization, something usually left by the side of the road in the rush to put up a system. At least with this book your database will have the best possible foundation.
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