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Temporal Data & the Relational Model (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems) Paperback – November 19, 2002

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1558608559 ISBN-10: 1558608559 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


Temporal database systems are systems that provide special support for storing, querying, and updating historical and/or future data. Current DBMSs provide essentially no temporal features at all, but this situation is likely to change soon for a variety of reasons; in fact, temporal databases are virtually certain to become important sooner rather than later, in the commercial world as well as in academia. This book provides an in-depth description of the foundations and principles on which those temporal DBMSs will be built. These foundations and principles are firmly rooted in the relational model of data; thus, they represent an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary one, and they will stand the test of time.


This book is arranged in three parts and a set of appendixes:

  • Preliminaries: Provides a detailed review of the relational model, and an overview of the Tutorial D language.
  • Laying the Foundations: Explains basic temporal data problems and introduces fundamental constructs and operators for addressing those problems.
  • Building on the Foundations: Applies the material of the previous part to issues of temporal database design, temporal constraints, temporal query and update, and much more.
  • Appendixes: Include annotated references and bibliography, implementation considerations, and other topics.


Key features:

  • Describes a truly relational approach to the temporal data problem.
  • Addresses implementation as well as model issues.
  • Covers recent research on new database design techniques, a new normal form, new relational operators, new update operators, a new approach to the problem of "granularity," support for "cyclic point types," and other matters.
  • Includes review questions and exercises in every chapter. Solutions are available at www.mkp.com.
  • Suitable for both reference and tutorial purposes.

About the Author

C. J. Date has a unique stature in the database industry. Author or coauthor of well over 30 books on database management (including the bestselling An Introduction to Database Systems, currently in its 8th edition), he enjoys a reputation that’s second to none for his ability to explain complex technical issues in a clear and understandable fashion. He was inducted into the Computing Industry Hall of Fame in 2004.

Hugh Darwen was employed in IBM’s software development divisions from 1967 to 2004. In the early part of his career, he was involved in DBMS development; from 1978 to 1982, he was one of the chief architects of an IBM product called Business System 12, a product that faithfully embraced the principles of the relational model. He was an active participant in the development of the international standard for SQL (and related standards) from 1988 to 2004. Based in the UK, he currently teaches relational database theory at Warwick University and is a tutor and course development consultant for the Open University. He has written two books on database management as well as coauthoring several with C.J. Date. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Wolverhampton and the Open University.

Nikos A. Lorentzos is a Professor at the Agricultural University of Athens. He is mainly known for his research in temporal (and also in spatio-temporal) databases. He has participated in relevant European Union funded projects (prime researcher for the development of a Temporal DBMS). The temporal model he has proposed has been extensively evaluated by independent researchers with positive comments, it is decribed in books addressed to university students, it has been the basis of PhDs undertaken in Europe and it has attracted the interest of DBMS developers. He is co-editor of the book Spatiotemporal Databases: The Chorochronos Approach (spatio-temporal databases). He is active in Temporal, Spatial and Spatio-temporal Databases as well as in the development of DSSs and Expert Systems in the forestry and the agricultural domain.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems
  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (December 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558608559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558608559
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,223,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By David Lawrence on December 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book presents perhaps the first rigorous analysis of the issues surrounding the use of temporal data in a relational database. Temporal data may be thought of as information contained in relations (i.e. tables) which changes over time. This situation most often arises in data warehouse environments, but the authors rightly point out that current data (e.g. in an Operational Data Store) must be integrally related to the history of that data over time.
This book is not for the faint-hearted. Its approach is quite rigorous and abstract. In order to comprehend this book in any meaningful fashion, the reader will have to develop an understanding of predicate calculus, which is a specialized version of set theory and its logic. Previous exposure to "Foundation for Object/Relational Databases: The Third Manifesto," by Date and Darwen, is highly recommended. While their approach is necessary, it does entail endless dry proofs of the prerequisite material needed to develop a general theory of temporal data. The authors leave few issues not covered in an effort to present a fully rigorous analysis of the issues. The book practically begs for a companion book to present a simplified summary of their findings and to contrast them with current data warehouse practices.
The book begins with a review of relational concepts and an introduction to Tutorial D, which was first presented in "The Third Manifesto." The authors then develop a theory of time in the database, which is based on earlier work by Lorentzos. Their approach is to create a new data type for timestamped data and, more importantly, for intervals of time.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Roberts on August 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
My thanks go to the authors for this book. Lat year I introduced material on temporal databases to my undergraduate students, realising the importance of this topic. However I did not feel comfortable with the books that deal with temporal database or confident that the prevailing approach was sound. Here the authors make crystal clear every decision as to how to model things. The relational model once again provides a foundation which leads to confidence even though the full temporal datbase picture is not yet in sight. As I read the book I found I got engaged in the subject and started asking my own questions (which were often answered later on) - a sign of a good book!. Now I'm using it in earnest to revise my lecture notes for next session, and am appreciating the structure of the book: the order in which topics are introduced and the use of examples. This is not just (maybe not primarily) a student text book, but I would recommend reading it to anyone teaching temporal database.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Mc Elhinney on December 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
There can be no denying, I believe, that insofar as current major Database Management Systems (DBMS) are concerned, temporal data represents a significant problem: it is simply not possible to declaratively constrain the integrity of temporal data in SQL databases (or non-temporal data, even). I am not alone I am sure in having had to deal with duplicate, triplicate, quadruplicate, etc., records covering, or abutting, or overlapping on the same temporal periods. Not to mention the hoops that must be jumped through to reliably manipulate those same data.

Date, Darwen, and Lorentzos have produced a formidable work here on applying some badly needed rigid logic to the whole sphere of temporal data within databases. And that rigid logic is afforded by the Relational Model. They consider three variants on the temporal data theme as vehicles for explanation and demonstration: 1. Semitemporal with current data only, 2. Temporal with current and historical data held within the same relvars (tables), 3. Temporal with current and historical data split into separate relvars.

Temporal data is a complex area, so this book has, inevitably, had to get 'down and dirty' with the detail, but the authors are clear and comprehensive throughout. A thorough familiarity with the Relational Model will help, as will any previous experience of their Relational language `Tutorial D', though they go though both in the first two introductory chapters.

We would indeed be much better off were the DBMS vendors to take serious note of the powerful logical arguments laid forth in this volume, and far from interpreting their reflections (criticisms) on NULLs, etc., as 'political', I would see them only as further reaffirmations of the principles that have led them to invest so much endeavour and thought into the problems and very real deficiencies of data modelling and integrity, specifically in regard to the Relational Model. And for that we should indeed be thankful.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RelWarden on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
The point of view of a French Database Architect and Administrator:

Un ouvrage magistral, traitant à fond et avec une extrême rigueur du sujet plus complexe qu'il n'y paraît des données temporelles (et plus généralement des données intervallaires de tout type), tant au plan de leur description que de leur manipulation et de leur intégrité. On ne le lit certes pas comme un roman, tant s'en faut, mais les concepteurs de bases de données se doivent de l'étudier, progresser sans se hâter et ne pas se décourager (ce qui exigera de leur part de faire pas mal d'exercices, crayon en main et tube d'aspirine à portée). Mais une fois l'étude de l'ouvrage menée à son terme, le concepteur aura tous les atouts pour véritablement traiter de la dimension temporelle des données, lors de l'élaboration des diagrammes de classes, modèles conceptuels et logiques de données ; il se rendra compte qu'il aura jusqu'ici procédé le plus souvent de façon trop intuitive et fruste, faisant que les développeurs auront dû ensuite pallier du moins mal possible, à l'occasion de l'organisation de leurs requêtes et programmes. Le développeur (averti) est lui aussi concerné par l'étude des opérateurs de manipulation des données temporelles, crayon en main à son tour et sans se précipiter pour ne pas lâcher prise. Mais on n'a rien sans rien, et de cet ouvrage on tirera des leçons qui seront autant de gages de succès dans le développement des projets dans lesquels la dimension temporelle des données est omniprésente.
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