The Relational Database Dictionary

‘Terms, Concepts and Examples’: The Language of Relational Databases

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The Relational Database Dictionary
By C. J. Date
122 pages. O’Reilly. $14.99.

The Relational Database Dictionary

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Language is undoubtedly one of the most important elements of human communication. One of the basic requirements for successful communication is agreement between the parties involved on the meaning of words. Otherwise confusion and misconceptions will arise. Within the field of semantics there is even a sub-area called semasiology that deals only with the meaning of words.

If an agreement on semantics in a condition for communication in natural languages, it is even more so for formal languages. The microcosm of relational databases actually has a clearly defined language at its disposal. However, there isn’t always agreement on the meaning of the individual items of the language between users of it. Sometimes, the terms are used rather loosely. Sometimes, the way they are used is simply wrong. Putting together all the individual items of the language in a dictionary seems like a rather obvious idea. Astonishingly, it took more than 30 years for someone to put this idea into practice for relational databases.

A dictionary about relational databases. What a brilliant idea! An informed reader may rectify me later, but to the best of my knowledge, this book the first and only dictionary of its kind.

As it is written by one of the leading authorities in the field, you don’t need strong visionary skills to predict that this book will be found on the desks of many people who deal professionally with relational databases.

Apart from the necessity of the book itself, there are a few other good reasons for it:

  • The book is RDBMS independent.
  • The price is outstanding.
  • The format is very handy.

Typically I write reviews in the order in which the books arrive, but for this one I have made an exception to this rule without feeling guilty.


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