Articulated Entity Relationship (AER) Diagram for Complete Automation of Relational Database Normalization

International Journal of Database Management Systems 05/2010; DOI: 10.5121/ijdms.2010.2206
Source: DOAJ


In this paper an Articulated Entity Relationship (AER) diagram is proposed, which is an extension of EntityRelationship (ER) diagram to accommodate the Functional Dependency (FD) information as its integral partfor complete automation of normalization. In current relational databases (RDBMS) automation ofnormalization by top down approach is possible using ER diagram as an input, provided the FD informationis available independently, meanwhile, through user interaction. Such automation we call partial andconditional automation. To avoid this user interaction, there is a strong need to accommodate FDinformation as an element of ER diagram itself. Moreover, ER diagrams are not designed by taking intoaccount the requirements of normalization. However, for better automation of normalization it must be anintegral part of conceptual design (ER Diagram). The prime motivation behind this paper to design a systemthat need only proposed AER diagram as a sole input and normalize the database up to a given normal formin one go. This would allow more amount of automation than the current approach. Such automation we callas total and unconditional automation, which is better and complete in true sense. As the proposed AERdiagram is designed by taking in to account the normalization process, normalization up to Boyce CoddNormal Form (BCNF) becomes an integral part of conceptual design. Additional advantage of AER diagramis that any modifications (addition, deletion or updation of attributes) made to the AER diagram willautomatically be reflected in its FD information. Thus description of schema and FD information isguaranteed to be consistent. This cannot be assured in current approach using ER diagrams, as schema andFD information are provided to the system at two different times, separately.

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    • "Normalization is more complicated specifically if the number of relations and number of attributes in each relation is high [2]. When normalization performed manually, it could be time consuming, prone to errors and costly, since it needs a high skilled personnel [9]. "
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    • "Beside the computational education systems there are many ways to support the learning of normalization. [14] and [15] introduce the AER (Articulated Entity Relationship) diagram which is an modified E-R diagram and includes functional dependencies between attributes. [16] introduces concept maps which describe relationships between concepts of relational model, functional dependencies and normalization. "
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    • "However, the problems that subsist in traditional design methods for decomposition relations to 3NF and 4NF are not fully solved with bubble diagrams, and there is still a possibility that unenforceable dependencies will occur. As an alternative to the previous solution, the use of Articulated Entity Relationship (AER) diagrams [9] was proposed. AER is an extension of the ER diagram with functional dependencies which allows for automated normalization through minimal interaction with the user. "
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