back to article Data Analysis 2.0

The World Wide Web can be thought of as one very large database, with information distributed in loosely-connected nodes across a wide array of systems. Compare this to the historically structured world of the relational database management system (RDBMS), where data is neatly managed in tables and columns in a relatively closed …


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  1. Ty Hilkert

    1:M? M:N!

    Why does figure 1 read:

    Each book is written by zero, one or more author

    Each author writes one and only one book

  2. PH

    Chaos - theory

    Will allowing data consumers to “speak for themselves” create chaos or a more accurate and complete definition?

    Chaos - absolutely. In the hands of non-professionals, garbage data will frequently be picked up and disseminated as "truth" (think of urban legends, wrong phone numbers, or propaganda). This data has the potential to be disseminated further and further, the more it spreads. Sure - sometimes a reader's real-world experience will create a safety check but not always, especially if the data-fact is dormant.

    Metadata studies regarding a workforce's capacity, competence and inclination to properly tag their corporate data are revealing. Most employees really don't have any interest in effectively managing data and its inter-relationships on a day-to-day basis as data management is usually seen as being an inconvenient aside to their "real job".

    Doubtless some bean-counter will sooner or later sponsor the idea of upgrading their company data systems Web 2.0-style. Good luck to them!

  3. Donna Burbank

    Re: 1:M? M:N!

    Good catch, Ty! That's the power of the traditional data model--to clearly work out the detailed relationships and semantics around data relationships. In this case we're using just a simple example where Jane Doe is limited to writing one book (she's not very bright) and can have multiple co-authors. In a "real-world" example, or with a different use case, we could expand the example to allow for multiple books by this author.

    This drives a the crux of data analysis--who's "right answer" is right? And who decides?

    Thanks for the feedback.

    - Donna

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well written article

    I do wonder if you can count the web as a data base. I think of a data base as a list of facts that are considered true by it's users. The web is so full of un-truths and opinions that although these things can be considered data it can also be considered useless. Just think about when you google something how big the list of links that come up, some of them the relationship to your query seem very obscure. It will all come down to some universal method of how to ask for the data that you are looking for and omit the noise. Anyway this is my layman's view.

    I thought the comment about the author only writing one book to be nit picky and your reply did a good job of handling it. Thanks for the well written article.


  5. Mike Silver badge

    do, dare,...

    data is "that which is given". It is a gift horse. One hopes that

    a "database", despite its name, has something more akin

    to "information", which implies both a certain amount of

    "truth" and "news". The web, of course, is free of such constraints.

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