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The Data Modeling Handbook: A Best-Practice Approach to Building Quality Data Models 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0471052906
ISBN-10: 0471052906
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A straightforward explanation of how to combine good technique with business context in a self-regulating modeling process that results in the creation of useable models. Contains a series of rules and best practices in an organized reference format. Addresses transition to systems development and model management, presenting each rule in several notations. Includes numerous examples drawn from practical experience.

From the Back Cover

A Straightforward, No-Nonsense Guide to Building the Most Accurate, Complete, and Useful Data Models Possible. How do I know if my data model is accurate? When is a model really complete? Is it possible for a model to be both technically perfect and of no use to an organization, and what can I do to avoid that problem? This book provides answers to these and other crucial data modeling questions. While there are plenty of books that describe the characteristics of finished high-quality data models, only The Data Modeling Handbook gets down to the nitty-gritty of actually building one. Packed with real-world examples, annotated diagrams, and a wealth of rules and best practices, this field-tested guide provides experienced data modelers, architects, and engineers with hands-on guidance from two noted data management experts.
  • The only book offering clear, straightforward rules and guidelines for judging model accuracy and completeness
  • Presents all rules in several notations, including IDEF1X, Martin, Chen, and Finkelstein
  • Compares and contrasts the most popular modeling styles and demonstrates how great models can be built using any type of notation
  • Explains how to use an organization’s plans, policies, objectives, and strategies to build accurate, complete, and useful models
  • Offers detailed guidance to establishing a continuous quality evaluation program that’s easy to implement and follow
  • Packed with real-world examples and annotated diagrams illustrating each point covered
  • Describes how to use Case tools most effectively to build high-quality models
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 17, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471052906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471052906
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John M. Harby on January 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have many books on data modeling but this one is probably the most understandable. The examples are well-formed and many diagrams are provided along with written explanations. They do an excellent job of going through 5th normal form and show how to resolve many different issues such as special cases in generalization hierarchies. I have found this book very useful in practice and it has served me well.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent. The subject matter is advanced but still easy to read and understand. The examples used in the book are varied and excellent illustrations of the problems discussed in the book. Many of the examples remind me of similar data modeling errors I have seen in my experience and give excellent methods of correcting the mistakes. I highly reccomend this book for the data modeler who is ready to go to the more advanced conecpts. (You must know basic data modeling concepts to understand this book, such as how to read diagrams, basic terminology, etc.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is really a "no-nonsense guide" for data modeller. However the diagram conventions are significantly different than found on some of the popular CASE tools. But overall I keep refering to this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Despain on April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been working with data models and databases for many years. Recently I was involved in a project to redesign a complex and important set of data structures that developers had redesigned 3 times in the last 10 years. In working on the design I noticed strong need for things like type-subtype relationships and recursive many-to-many relationships. Worried that I was going to steer the project down a dark alley I went through my home bookshelf looking for a reference that would refresh some rusty memories.

The Data Modeling Handbook was one of two books that I found. I looked at the other book first. It got a few page flips and was tossed aside. I then began flipping through Data Modeling Handbook. It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. I spent time into the very late evening reviewing entity designs, relationships, and good and poor practices. It took a few hours but I covered 150-200 pages of material with clear examples that were pivotal in making solid design decisions and communicating them to a jaded cross-functional redesign project team.

It took another week or ten days, but the developers in that cross-functional redesign team now have a data model that meets pressing current needs and happens to solve problems originally thought unapproachable. How do they feel about the design? That formerly 'jaded' group is now excited to demonstrate (and even defend) their elegant yet practical data design to a larger group of developers.

Today I'm on Amazon to order a second copy of the Data Modeling Handbook for the DBA group bookshelf. My copy is going back home with me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Vinícius Medina Kern on September 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The authors deny the fifth normal form and state special-case rules as if they were universal. Examples: Eliminate triads; Two entities cannot have more than one relationship. Although in some specific situations the advice might be valid, anyone who is trying to learn from the reading will be misled. Less harmful, even interesting, for a professor (to learn how not to approach the teaching of DB modeling).
Poor, underdocumented examples. Oversimplification. Unfortunately at the time I had only the title to choose from. Good thing most books now have a table of contents.
Database modeling still doesn't have strong references as database theory does (Date's, Ramakrishnan's, Elmasri's only to cite three). There are excellent theoretical (Thalheim's "Entity-Relationship Modeling" is good) and philosophical approaches (finally they re-published Kent's opera-prima "Data and Reality", fabulous).
The picture is poor when it comes to hands-on modeling. Bruce's "Designing Quality Databases..." is an exception. Good and useful for someone who is developing modeling expertise. But I especially don't recommend Reingruber&Gregory's book.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hoeppner on June 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I had to create my first data model for an entire system, I instructed myself with this book and "Data Modeling For Information Professionals" by Bob Schmidt. Schmidt's book provided the theory, and this book provided the implementation rules and guidelines. I think the attribute rules probably helped me the most. The hierarchy rules, which were written in a way that I could relate to from an object-oriented perspective, were probably the next most helpful for me. I especially appreciated that the book's modeling notation matched the modeling tool I was using (Martin notation, with rectangular boxes, solid lines, little circles, hash marks and crow's feet, as opposed to something more UML-like with rounded boxes, dashed lines, little diamonds, and black balls.)
The database I created with this book's help is still going strong. It's robust, flexible and extensible, in large part due to the wisdom I received from this book.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Julie Brackett on February 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Anyone that has been modeling very long will see this book for what it is ... after you look at it once, you'll put it on your bookshelf and leave it there. Save yourself the money ... There are much better reference books available. Try David Hay's book on patterns, or Len Silverston, or Graeme Simsion. Check out the DAMA reference guide .. at least it's built by actual practitioners.
The help screens on the Data modeling tools are more advanced in explaining data modeling than this book.
Probably great for theorists - managers or teachers that don't know what they are doing! But the real modelers will seek help elsewhere.
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