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Data and Reality: A Timeless Perspective on Perceiving and Managing Information in Our Imprecise World, 3rd Edition Paperback – February 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Technics Publications, LLC; Third edition (February 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935504215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935504214
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Kent (1936-2005) was a renowned researcher in the field of data modeling. Author of Data and Reality, he wrote scores of papers and spoke at conferences worldwide, posing questions about database design and the management of information that remain unanswered today. Though he earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's in mathematics, he had no formal training in computer science. Kent worked at IBM and later at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, where he helped develop prototype database systems. He also served on or chaired several international standards committees. Kent lived in New York City and later Menlo Park, Calif., before retiring to Moab, Utah, to pursue his passions of outdoor photography and protecting the environment.


More About the Author

William Kent (1936-2005) was a renowned researcher in the field of data modeling. Author of Data and Reality, he wrote scores of papers and spoke at conferences worldwide, posing questions about database design and the management of information that remain unanswered today.

Though he earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's in mathematics, he had no formal training in computer science. Kent worked at IBM and later at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, where he helped develop prototype database systems. He also served on or chaired several international standards committees.

Kent lived in New York City and later Menlo Park, Calif., before retiring to Moab, Utah, to pursue his passions of outdoor photography and protecting the environment.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Perazzi25 on January 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did my PhD in database in the early 80s. This book by W. Kent was around already and I heard about it but did not have a copy of it. Had I read the book, my research work would have been 10 times better. This current printing is the reprint of the original one. The author mentioned in the preface that he was asked to update the book but he didn't because he thought it was still up to date (and I absolutely agree).

If you are in data modeling and database area, believe me, this is a must read. It is about the philosophy of data modeling and how data and reality are related. In my opinion, its content cannot be obsolete. It is technology independent. The concept of naming and identification alone is priceless for data modelers. I can't believe I have been working in the database area for more than 30 years without it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phil Milner on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
This short book is a combination of practical data modeling thinking and the broader topic of information within database systems.

The second aspect of above statement concerns how we know and communicate information within organizations. However, and most importantly, the broader topic is worth the investment of the reader's time, even though it bridges over into Philosophy.

The bridge to philosophy is tempered by the authors many years doing practical the practical work of data modeling, shaping the professional organizations which develop IT standards and interacting with thought leaders in information systems and the philosophy of knowledge.

Steve Hoberman's additions to the original work by Kent clarify and make accessible this important material. In addition, his contribution gives Kent's classic work a current day perspective.

For IT people who want to take data modeling to the next level or even for the executive who makes organizational decisions concerning information this is an important book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Ordowich on May 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read the first edition of this book and it has remained a valued reference for me. It is also a "reality check" whenever I think I have designed the best data model the world has ever seen. Reviewing the suggestions and perspectives that the book provides brings me back to reality.

I have to admit that I had to read the earlier version book three times and the reality came about when I reviewed my models and other models against the backdrop of the perspectives described in the book and attempted to apply some of the ideas William has put forth.

What is also helpful is that William did not attempt to put forth singular solutions, but describes the problem in detail so you can appreciate all the perspectives before deciding how to deal with the problems and challenges in an informed way. When dealing with data, ignorance is not bliss. Reality should rule.

For example if you have to model roles and relationships you will attest to the fact that there is no best solution. Other books provide prescriptive solutions that eventually limit the use of data. They are too simplistic. William looks at this problem from a distance and then delves into the microscopic view. It provides a Grand Unified Theory for data.

This version of the book offered me an opportunity to renew my understanding and appreciation for data and with the additional content provided by Steve Hoberman, some helpful examples and clarifications of the concepts. More reality.

Anyone in the field of data including data architects, designers and developers should read this book and internalize the concepts and issues identified in it. Only then will you have a "real" perspective on data.
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Some very important considerations for data modeling. Clearly explained with lots of good examples. William Kent does an excellent job of delving into the philosophy but always pointing back to the need to keep things practical for your use case. This will change the way you think about data and how it is represented.
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