Are attributes entities? A study of database designers' memory structures

Weber, Ron (1996) Are attributes entities? A study of database designers' memory structures. Information Systems Research, 7 2: 147-162.

Author Weber, Ron
Title Are attributes entities? A study of database designers' memory structures
Journal name Information Systems Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1047-7047
1526-5536
Publication date 1996
Year available 1996
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 7
Issue 2
Start page 147
End page 162
Total pages 16
Place of publication Catonsville, MD United States
Publisher INFORMS
Collection year 1996
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A longstanding debate in the data modeling literature pertains to whether the grammars used to generate conceptual schemas should sustain a distinction between entities and attributes. The grammars used to generate entity-relationship diagrams and object-oriented conceptual models, for example, provide separate constructs for representing entities and attributes. The grammars used to generate binary data models, however, provide only a single construct for representing both entities and attributes. To sharpen the focus of the debate, a multi-trial free-recall experiment was conducted with database designers who had been trained primarily in a binary conceptual schema design methodology. In the experiment, the designers were first shown conceptual schema diagrams based on a binary model. The designers were then asked to recall the diagrams. Throughout their training as designers, they had been admonished to eschew any distinction between entities and attributes. Moreover, the diagrams they were shown in the experiment did not make a distinction between entities and attributes. Their recall protocols seemed to show, however, that they were considering some elements of the diagrams to be entities and others to be attributes. Their memory structures appear to reflect, therefore, that they perceive entities and attributes to be two distinct constructs
Keyword Human memory
Semantic networks
Spreading Activation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: UQ Business School Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 09 Dec 2014, 15:29:51 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of UQ Business School