Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Impressive, inspiring, and distressing
on June 8, 2004
As a professional data modeller, I found this book impressive, inspiring, and distressing.
It is impressive because the author has done a good job of encapsulating a broad set of what on the surface appear to be completely unrelated topics--metadata, business rules, data modeling, XML, etc. Except that I am interested in all of them, which should already have told me that they were related. He managed to balance the level of detail for each of the areas, not getting either intimidating with detail or too superficial to be useful.
I found it inspiring because I really have been interested in this subject for many years and just didn't know it. In my data modeling practice I have always focused more on the meaning of concepts than on how they might be physically represented in databases. The author's admonition to companies to spend more time (and money) considering semantics could be in my marketing materials.
My current problem is that data modeling has become passé and it is tricky to market my services. I like to distinguish myself from other data modelers in that I think I am better than most in understanding semantics, but I never described it that way. Semantics now gives me a way to rework my marketing message.
I found this book distressing for the same reasons I found it inspiring. It points out that far from being a closed issue, this field is just beginning. The amount of stuff I still don't know is really troubling. The bibliography seriously scared me. Part of the problem is that my undergraduate degree was in philosophy, but in addition to the fact that I really have trouble after all these years remembering who said what, I now realize that my education in that subject was seriously superficial. Now I am going to have to take a refresher course!
While I often see myself as an old curmudgeon who hates new ideas, I see this book as a challenge to me to get my intellectual act together. I welcome that and I am glad to see that there are still exciting things to be done.