Book Details

Understanding Databases
Concepts and Practice, 1e

Suzanne W. Dietrich, Copyright 2021
ISBN 978-1-119-58064-5

Wiley Companion Website:

WinRDBI Website:

From the Author

The goal of this book is to provide an introduction to databases to a diverse audience, incorporating fundamental concepts and essential practice. The succinct presentation of the underlying formalism forms a strong foundation for its application to solving problems. Visual components are integrated throughout the text, including the use of a visual relational schema linking primary and foreign keys to highlight referential integrity. Summary figures and tables provide an overview of essential information. Practice is an integral component of the text with a variety of solved real-world problems at the end of each chapter. Formative self-assessment is also incorporated through self-check questions at the end of each section.

The appendix describes the WinRDBI educational tool, which provides an interpreter for the relational database query languages described in the book: relational algebra, domain and tuple relational calculus, and SQL (see The book's companion website ( includes the checked queries from the book so that the reader can check the results of the queries using the tool. (These queries are also available on the WinRDBI samples page.) The database and queries are provided for four database enterprises in the four query languages recognized by the tool.

In addition to the WinRDBI educational tool, there are also visualizations available ( to introduce fundamental database concepts to diverse majors as mentioned in the text's More to Explore feature.

Databases for Many Majors Logo There are three visualizations:
  • Introduction to Relational Databases
  • Introduction to Querying
  • Conceptual Database Design

Each visualization provides a choice of context for exploring databases beyond the default example of students taking courses, e.g., astronomy, baseball statistics, computational molecular biology, environmental science/ecology, forensic science, geographic information systems, and neuroinformatics.

Chapter Features

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to Databases and the Relational Data Model

2 Conceptual Design

3 Relational Algebra

4 Relational Calculus

5 SQL: An Introduction to Querying

6 SQL: Beyond the Query Language

7 Database Programming

8 XML and Databases

9 Transaction Management

10 More on Database Design