A Sample Database Application
In this section we describe a sample database application, called COMPANY, which serves to illustrate the basic ER model concepts and their use in schema design. We list the data requirements for the database here, and then create its conceptual schema step-by-step as we introduce the modeling concepts of the ER model. The COMPANY database keeps track of a company’s employees, departments, and projects. Suppose that after the requirements collection and analysis phase, the database designers provide the following description of the miniworld—the part of the company that will be represented in the database.
- The company is organized into departments. Each department has a unique name, a unique number, and a particular employee who manages the department. We keep track of the start date when that employee began managing the department. A department may have several locations.
- A department controls a number of projects, each of which has a unique name, a unique number, and a single location
- We store each employee’s name, Social Security number,2 address, salary, sex (gender), and birth date. An employee is assigned to one department, but may work on several projects, which are not necessarily controlled by the same department. We keep track of the current number of hours per week that an employee works on each project. We also keep track of the direct supervisor of each employee (who is another employee).
- We want to keep track of the dependents of each employee for insurance purposes. We keep each dependent’s first name, sex, birth date, and relationship to the employee. Figure shows how the schema for this database application can be displayed by means of the graphical notation known as ER diagrams. This figure will be explained gradually as the ER model concepts are presented. We describe the stepby-step process of deriving this schema from the stated requirements—and explain the ER diagrammatic notation—as we introduce the ER model concepts.