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Database design is the organization of data according to a database model. The designer determines what data must be stored and how the data elements interrelate. With this information, they can begin to fit the data to the database model.[1] Database management system manages the data accordingly.

Database design involves classifying data and identifying interrelationships. This theoretical representation of the data is called an ontology. The ontology is the theory behind the database's design.

Determining data to be stored

In a majority of cases, a person who is doing the design of a database is a person with expertise in the area of database design, rather than expertise in the domain from which the data to be stored is drawn e.g. financial information, biological information etc. Therefore, the data to be stored in the database must be determined in cooperation with a person who does have expertise in that domain, and who is aware of what data must be stored within the system.

This process is one which is generally considered part of requirements analysis, and requires skill on the part of the database designer to elicit the needed information from those with the domain knowledge. This is because those with the necessary domain knowledge frequently cannot express clearly what their system requirements for the database are as they are unaccustomed to thinking in terms of the discrete data elements which must be stored. Data to be stored can be determined by Requirement Specification.[2]

Determining data relationships

Once a database designer is aware of the data which is to be stored within the database, they must then determine where dependency is within the data. Sometimes when data is changed you can be changing other data that is not visible. For example, in a list of names and addresses, assuming a situation where multiple people can have the same address, but one person cannot have more than one address, the address is dependent upon the name. When provided a name and the list the address can be uniquely determined; however, the inverse does not hold - when given an address and the list, a name cannot be uniquely determined because multiple people can reside at an address. Because an address is determined by a name, an address is considered dependent on a name.

(NOTE: A common misconception is that the relational model is so called because of the stating of relationships between data elements therein. This is not true. The relational model is so named because it is based upon the mathematical structures known as relatio

Database design involves classifying data and identifying interrelationships. This theoretical representation of the data is called an ontology. The ontology is the theory behind the database's design.

In a majority of cases, a person who is doing the design of a database is a person with expertise in the area of database design, rather than expertise in the domain from which the data to be stored is drawn e.g. financial information, biological information etc. Therefore, the data to be stored in the database must be determined in cooperation with a person who does have expertise in that domain, and who is aware of what data must be stored within the system.

This process is one which is generally considered part of requirements analysis, and requires skill on the part of the database designer to elicit the needed information from those with the domain knowledge. This is because those with the necessary domain knowledge frequently cannot express clearly what their system requirements for the database are as they are unaccustomed to thinking in terms of the discrete data elements which must be stored. Data to be stored can be determined by Requirement Specification.[2]

Determining data relationships

Once a database designer is aware of the data which is to be stored within the database, they must then determine where dependency is within the data. Sometimes when data is changed you can be changing other data that is not visible. For example, in a list of names and addresses, assuming a situation where multiple people can have the same address, but one person cannot have more than one address, the address is dependent upon the name. When provided a name and the list the address can be uniquely determined; however, the inverse does not hold - when given an address and the list, a name cannot be uniquely determined because multiple people can reside at an address. Because an address is determined by a name, an address is considered dependent on a name.

(NOTE: A common misconception is that the relational model is so called because of the stating of relationships between data elements therein. This is not true. The relational model is so named because it is based upon the mathematical structures known as relations.)

Logically structuring data