Entity Relationship Diagrams
An entity-relationship diagram is a graphical depiction of organizational system elementsand the association among the elements. E-R diagrams can help define system boundaries. The elements that make up a system are referred to as
is the association that describes the interaction between entities.An E-R diagram may also indicate the
of a relationship. Cardinality is thenumber of instances of one entity that can, or must, be associated with each instance of another entity. In general we may speak of one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-manyrelationships.There are several different styles used to draw Entity-Relationship diagrams. The Kendalland Kendall text uses the Crow's Foot notation. Using this notation entities arerepresented by rectangles and relationships are indicated by lines connecting therectangles. Cardinality is shown by a series of "tick marks" and "crows feet"superimposed on the relationship lines.In the following example each student fills one seat in a class. Each seat is filled by onestudent. (In this usage a "seat" implies not only a physical place to sit but also a specificday and time.) This is a one-to-one relationship.In the next example a single instructor may teach several courses. Each course has onlyone instructor. This is a one-to-many relationship.As shown below, a single student may register for several courses. A single course canhave many students enrolled in it. This is the many-to-many relationship.The next example shows a relationship in which it is possible that no instances exist.Each professor may teach several course sections but may not teach at all if on sabbatical.Assume there is no team teaching, therefore each section must have a single professor.