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Data & Reality: A Timeless Perspective on Perceiving & Managing Information in Our Imprecise World Paperback – 18 April 2012
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From Graeme Simsion's foreword:
While such fundamental issues remain unrecognized and unanswered, Data and Reality, with its lucid and compelling elucidation of the questions, needs to remain in print. I read the book as a database administrator in 1980, as a researcher in 2002, and just recently as the manuscript for the present edition. On each occasion I found something more, and on each occasion I considered it the most important book I had read on data modeling. It has been on my recommended reading list forever. The first chapter in particular should be mandatory reading for anyone involved in data modeling.
In publishing this new edition, Steve Hoberman has not only ensured that one of the key books in the data modeling canon remains in print, but has added his own comments and up-to-date examples, which are likely to be helpful to those who have come to data modeling more recently. Don't do any more data modeling work until you've read it.
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The author emphasises the inherent imprecision of any model due to the complexity and ambiguity of ‘reality’. All good points. And clearly arising from deep practical experience.
The final chapter could be seen as a bit pretentious, though making some good points. I did think though that we’d all heard more than enough about Sapir and Whorf and the multitudinous Eskimo words for snow or the different Hopi conceptualisations of time - and the downward slide into insipid mushy ‘relativism’. Brings back memories. Ah the 70s!!
If you are in data modeling and database area, believe me, this is a must read. It is about the philosophy of data modeling and how data and reality are related. In my opinion, its content cannot be obsolete. It is technology independent. The concept of naming and identification alone is priceless for data modelers. I can't believe I have been working in the database area for more than 30 years without it.
His exposure and description of relationships and how to address them was enlightening.