Learning about relational databases

In the course of looking for information on data cleaning and data structure, and not getting much out of the Saylor.org Introduction to Database Management course, I found that the first chapter of this Springer ebook looked promising.

Pro SQL Server 2008 Relational Database Design and Implementation. Louis Davidson, Kevin Kline, Kurt Windisch. Springer, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-4302-0866-2 (Print) 978-1-4302-0867-9 (Online).


You’re probably asking yourself, why should an ordinary non-Systems librarian concern herself with databases? And how can this software-specific book from 2008 help?

I’ve been gradually coming to the conclusion that librarians, at least ones involved with technical services and electronic resources, should have some passing knowledge of data and how it is commonly structured for the following reasons:

  1. Understand the underlying workings of the ILS, of most Web pages and apps, software in general.
  2. Structure data and accompanying workflows in a mindful and enlightened fashion.
  3. Better understand and communicate with I.T. folks.

Number 2 is foremost in my mind lately, pondering how to flesh out consistent, efficient, updated workflows. Also, if I want to delve more into Python again, could I make use of a relational database to, say, manage SUSHI input?  Even though we may all be heading down the path to nonrelational datastores (NoSQL) like Redis, it is useful to examine how data is traditionally structured. The higher level aspect of design is especially interesting to me.

As to this particular book, Chapter 1: Introduction to Database Concepts is just what it says, and a good one at that. In my next post, I will summarize the first part of the chapter.

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