You are on page 1of 3

Conceptual Design

ER (Entity Relationship) Model:

• The E-R model is a detailed, logical representation of the data for a business area.

• It is expressed in terms of entities in the business, the relationships, and the properties of the entities and

What is an Entity?
An Entity is a person, place, object, event, or concept about which organization wishes to maintain data.

ER model Symbols:

Strong Entity: Exists independently of other types. STUDENT, EMPLOYEE

Weak Entity: An entity type whose existence depends on other entity type.
Example: entity DEPENDENT won’t exists without another entity EMPLOYEE/ ASSOCIATE
Represented with

What is a Relationship and how it is represented?

• Relation ships are glue that holds together the various components of E-R model.
• An association among the instances of one or more entity types.

What is a Associative Entity and how it is represented?

• An entity that associates the instances of one or more entity types and contains values that are peculiar to
relationship between those entities

What is an Attribute and how it is represented?

• A property or characteristic of an entity type that is interest to the organization

STUDENT: Student_ID, Student_Name
AUTOMOBILE: Vehicle_ID, Color
Flight_No Date Captain_


What is multi-valued Attribute and how it is represented?

• An attribute that may take on more than one value for a given entity instance
• Represented with double Ellipse

Example: For an EMPLOYEE entity Skill_Set can be considered as week attribute

What is derived attribute and how it is represented?

• An attribute whose value can be calculated from related attribute values.
• Represented with dotted ellipse

Example: For an EMPLOYEE entity, attribute Years_Employeed is derived. This can be derived from the Date_Joined attribute

1. Draw an ER diagram for the following.
A company purchases items from a number of different vendors, who then ship the items to the manufacturer. The items are
assembled into products that are sold to customers who order the products. Each customer order may order one or more

What is Relational Structure?

• We can express the structure of a relation by a Tuple, a shorthand notation
• The name of the relation is followed (in parentheses) by the names of the attributes of that relation, e.g.:
• EMPLOYEE1(Emp_ID, Name, Dept, Salary)

Relational Keys
• Must be able to store and retrieve a row of data in a relation, based on the data values stored in that row
• A primary key is an attribute (or combination of attributes) that uniquely identifies each row in a relation.
• The primary key in the EMPLOYEE1 relation is EMP_ID (this is why it is underlined) as in:
EMPLOYEE1 (Emp_ID, Name, Dept, Salary)

• Super Key: An attribute (or combination of attributes) that uniquely identifies each entity in a table.
• Candidate Key: A minimal super key. A super key that does not contain a subset of attributes that is itself a super
• Primary key: A candidate key selected to uniquely identify all other attribute values in any given row. Cannot
contain null entries.
• Foreign Key: A key is used when we must represent the relationship between two tables and relations
A foreign key is an attribute (possibly composite) in a relation of a database that serves as the primary key of
another relation in the same database.

EMPLOYEE1 (Emp_ID, Name, Dept_Name, Salary)
DEPARTMENT (Dept_Name, Location, Fax)
The attribute Dept_ Name is a foreign key in EMPLOYEE1.
It allows the user to associate any employee wit the department they are assigned to.
Some authors show the fact that an attribute is a foreign key by using a dashed underline.

How to express Conceptual Schema?

Text statements have the advantage of simplicity, whilst the graphical representation provides a better means of
expressing referential integrity constraints
Here is a text description for four relations:
• CUSTOMER(Customer_ID, Customer_Name, Address, City, State, Zip)
• ORDER(Order_ID, Order_Date, Customer_ID)
• ORDER_LINE(Order_ID, Product_ID, Quantity)
• PRODUCT(Product_ID, Product_Description, Product_Finish, Standard_Price, On_Hand)
1. What is ER Model?
2. What can be done with ER Model?
3. What is the symbol used to represent Entity?
4. What is the symbol used to represent weak Entity?
5. What is the symbol used to attribute?
6. What is the symbol used to derived attribute?
7. What does it mean “an attribute is multivalued”?
8. What is a primary key?
9. What is a foreign key?
10. What is a Candidate key?
11. What is a Super key?
12. What is the indication of underlining an attribute in Conceptual design?