An essential part is in data transformation and cleaning processes. While organizations are concerned with these processes, relational database provides the solution to this issue. Data storage, organization, keeping, and retrieval can be easily done through the adoption of relational data management model. This is a model where tables are made in a manner that the data items are described and organized according to the level of relation. The data that is contained in a certain table represents a relation. Relational database tends to provide a more efficient way of managing data. This paper explores the history of relational database and its relevance in management.
History of relational database
The history about relational database is the history regarding scientific and technological revolution. This scientific revolution was started in 1970 by Edgar F. Codd in the IBM San Jose research laboratory. Edgar Codd was an oxford-educated mathematician who worked at IBM San Jose research Lab. He published a paper indicating how information stores in a large database may be accessed without even knowing how that information is structured (Powell 2006). Until this time, retrieving information needed relatively sophisticated computer knowledge, and it was time-consuming and an expensive task.
In the past, databases that were used in retrieving the same information time and again and in a predictable way were well established during the time. However, what Codd did was just opening the door to a new world for data independence. The users in retrieving information did not have to be specialists, nor did they require knowing where the information was or how it would be retrieved by the computer. This intervention would allow users to focus more on their business and less on computers. Codd names his paper “a relational model of data for large shared data banks” and computer scientists refer to it as revolutionary data (Powell 2006).
Today, the flexibility and ease of relational database has made them to be the best choice in financial record, logistic and manufacturing information, and also personnel data. Most of the routine data transactions tend to be using structures that are based in relational database theory. These transactions include using credit cards, bank accounts, making travel transactions, making travel reservations, and trading stocks (Powell 2006).
When Codd was inventing the database, he wanted to be able to ask the computer for information and let the computer figure out how and where the information has been stored and how it would be retrieved. Codd’s main idea with relational database was that relationships between the data items must be based on the value of the items and not on separate linking. Codd used the term relation based on the mathematical set theory in the relation of groups of sets. His relational database offered a level of data independence that allowed users to have access to information without even having to master the physical structure of the database.
In 1973, San Jose Research Lab started a program called system R (R stands for relational) so as to prove the relational theory (Powell 2006). The project did produce extraordinary output in inventions that were the foundation for the success of IBM with relational databases. In the process, Ray Boyce and Don Chamberlin did invent the Structured Query Language (SQL) that is presently the mostly used computer language in querying relational databases (Kolaitis 2009). Patricia Selinger also developed a cost-based organizer that makes working with relational database to be efficient and cost-effective.
When Codd invented relational database, he introduced two query languages for the relational data model. The two languages include relational algebra and relational calculus. Relational algebra is a procedural language. This is an algebraic formalism where queries are expressed through applying a sequence of operations to relations. Codd used relational algebra because it tends to strike a good balance between efficiency and expressive power (Kolaitis 2009). Relational calculus is a declarative language. This is a logical formalism where queries are expressed through formulas of the first-order logic.
Operations of relational database
A database refers to a means of storing information in a manner that information can be retrieved from it. Relational database refers to a collection of data items that are organized as a set of formally described tables in which data can be reassembled or accessed in different ways. The standard users and the application program interface of the relational database are the structured query language, SQL are used for interactive queries of information from the relational database and in gathering data for reports. Relational database is easy to access and create, and it is also easy to extend. When the original database is created, a new data category may be added without necessarily modifying all existing application (Litwin 2003).
Relational database is considered as a set of tables with data fitted in the predefined categories. Each of the tables contains one or more categories of data that is defined by the columns. When developing a relational database, the user can define the domain of the values in a data column and constraints that can apply to that data value. Several rules should be followed in a relational database. It is required that the rows in relational tables must be distinct. In the case, there are duplicate rows; it might be had to determine which rows are the correct ones. Another rule is that the column values should not be repeating arrays or groups. Another integrity rule is about the null value (Pratt & Adamski 2010). Databases take care of issues where data cannot be available through using a null value to show that the value is missing. In this case, a blank is considered to equal another blank while a zero is equal to another zero. However, a null value is not considered equal to another null value.
Using a relational database
There are several reasons why organizations should use a relational database. This is a unique model that offers sufficient means of data management. The benefits of relational database can be manifested in different ways that include the ability of storing, managing, and retrieving data in a flexible manner (Litwin 2003). One significant use of relational database is assessing and transforming data. The current relational database models are powerful in that they allow the user access to a query that transforms and retrieve data. This tends to be a big solution to some problems encountered during the process of data analysis. Relational database also allows data integrity. There is no reason for storing huge numbers of files when relational database management can perform this effectively. Data integrity is absolute in a relational database. This model enhances tidying in that a unit of data can be divided into several sets that can easily be transformed and recombined (Kroenke 2007). Data manipulation can be a great threat to the organization as it may result to loss of essential information. However, with relational database, it provides a solution to such a problem.
Relational database is also important in management s it provides data cleaning. With the database model, the user has the choice of the table form, the type of data, and a range of values that should be accommodated in every column. This makes it possible to validate data during entry in the system. Since the invention of relational database, it has made work easier in managing information. For instance, during data entry, the command may be given that specifies what type of information to allow in the system. Doing this means that the system can automatically reject any information that is not allowed in the system (Kroenke 2007). Relational database also allows data back-up and restore. Therefore, people cannot worry about retrieving lost data because relational database makes it possible for recovery of lost data that may have happened due to human errors or software error in data manipulation.
A relational database normally stores data in tables where tables are organized to columns and each column store one type of data. Relational database is based on branches of mathematics referred to as set theory and predicate logic. The idea behind relational model is that the database has a series of unordered tables that may be manipulated through the use of non-procedural operations. The aim of relational database is to offer a declarative method of specifying queries and data.
Kolaitis, P (2009). Relational databases, logic, and complexity retrieved from http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~kolaitis/talks/gii09-final.pdf
Kroenke, M. (2007). Database Concepts New York; Prentice
Litwin, P (2003). Fundamentals of relational database design retrieved from http://r937.com/relational.html
Powell, G (2006). Beginning database design John Wiley & Sons
Pratt J, & Adamski J. (2010). Concepts of Database Management Mason; Cengage Learning
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