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Review of Information Systems Introduction. “Information systems” describe processes that transform data into information, using digital technology, to enable organizations to make better decisions requires inputs, outputs, processes, feedback

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review of information systems introduction
Review of Information Systems Introduction
  • “Information systems” describe processes that transform data into information, using digital technology, to enable organizations to make better decisions
    • requires inputs, outputs, processes, feedback
    • composed of hardware, software, databases, infrastructure, people and procedures
    • classified into transaction processing systems, e-commerce, management information systems and decision support systems
  • Computer hardware encompasses all digital machinery used to input, store, process and output data
    • CPU + memory is computer’s “heart”, linked to input devices, output devices, communications devices, secondary storage
    • Computer systems include: network computers, PCs, workstations, midrange computers, mainframes and supercomputers

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

information systems introduction cont d
Information Systems Introduction (cont’d)
  • Computer software encompasses all programs that direct hardware to perform specific tasks
    • types include: operating system, utility, application software
    • application software purchase options include: proprietary, off-the-shelf and customized
    • application software scope includes: personal, workgroup and enterprise
    • applications are developed using languages
    • software cost dominates organization IS total costs
  • The Internet is a worldwide linkage of computers that communicate
    • Every host sends, receives and transfers messages and has a unique URL
    • Internet services include e-mail, FTP/telnet, Usenet and telephony
    • The World Wide Web allows organized access to documents anywhere on the Internet

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

why do we focus on relational databases
Why Do We Focus on Relational Databases?

Databases are the lifeblood of any organization and answer the “who/what/when/where/why” of operations.

Relational databases store large volumes of data with a minimum of data duplication, inconsistency, or anomalies, and encode key business practices

Relational database management systems address the collection, storage and management of data in a relational databases, using:

  • Tables
  • Queries
  • User interfaces
  • Reports
  • Application programs

Growth in Internet communications has increased the importance of relational database design and applications

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

heinz school network information
Heinz School Network Information
  • Computer information:
    • Nearly 100 computers in the clusters, nearly all running Windows NT; one Mac.
    • Nearly 100 more computers given to staff, faculty, Ph.D students, etc. Staff and faculty machines generally run Windows 95; Ph.D student machines run Windows NT
  • Server information:
    • Five servers: Sparc and NT servers for websites, three-server setup for our Heinz domain controllers (one primary, two backups). A few stand-alone servers as well.
    • All servers will eventually run on Windows NT Server.
  • Novell vs. NT:
    • Novell considered more robust, more stable and less able to be hacked than Windows NT
    • Corporate purchasing decisions are dominating technical considerations

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

the wide world of heinz
The Wide World of Heinz
  • The computing world at Heinz is divided into two:
    • The web server (domain called Howland: a Sun Solaris machine running Unix
    • Howland is connected to the Andrew file system
    • the PC world (domain HEINZ), in which three NT servers connect all faculty, staff and student computers, web/database/Exchange servers
    • HEINZ domain is part of the CMU “meta-domain”

CMU “meta-domain”




Server 1



Server 2


Server 3

Communicate via FTP


(Heinz School


Faculty, student, staff, servers

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

overview of the relational database model
Overview of the Relational Database Model

Relational databases can store any type of data:

  • IDs
  • Codes
  • Memos
  • Numerical Values
  • Hypertext Links
  • Images/Sounds
  • Date/Time
  • Spatial attributes
  • OLE

All organizations use these types of data in their operations, but fewer use databases to define relationships between data

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

relational database example service delivery

What data does Aardvark need?

Relational Database Example: Service Delivery
  • Aardvark Towing , Inc.
    • Mission: Tow vehicles from pick up sites to destinations, charging by the mile towed.
    • Resources: 5 trucks, 20 drivers, radio dispatch, police scanners
    • Problems: Need to automate records, beat out the competition
    • Solution: Database, change from random to targeted truck locations

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

first step in relational database design identify entity sets
First Step in Relational Database Design: Identify Entity Sets

Entity Set: Collection of similar persons, things, places, events, concepts, or linkages

Potential Entity Sets:

  • TOW

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

second step identify primary keys for entity sets
Second Step: Identify Primary Keys for Entity Sets

Primary Key: Has a unique value for every entity

Candidate Key: Alternate primary key

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

third step identify attributes of entity sets
Third Step: Identify Attributes of Entity Sets

Attribute: Characteristic or property of entities

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

data example tbltruck
Data Example: tblTruck

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

next step design entity relationship diagram

(performs a)

(is used in a)










(drives a)


(is used for a)





Next Step: Design Entity-Relationship Diagram

An entity-relationship (E-R) diagram is a blueprint of the relational database. It defines associations between and within entities that capture: connectivity, cardinality, functional relationship and others.

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

relationships between tables example

One truck can participate in many tows;

Truck is a primary key for tblTruck and a foreign key for tblTow

Relationships Between Tables - Example



MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

last step full relational database model
Last Step: Full Relational Database Model

tblTruck (Truck#, Truck VIN, Truck Plate#,

Truck Make And Model Code, Truck Year)

tblEmployee (Employee#, Social Security Number, First Name,

Last Name, Address, Phone, DOB)

tblVehicle (Vehicle VIN, Driver#@, Vehicle Plate#,

Vehicle State, Vehicle Make and Model Code,

Vehicle Type, Vehicle Year, Insurance Co.)

tblTow (Tow#, Truck#@, Employee#@, Vehicle [email protected], Date Towed,

Time Towed, Pick Up Address, Pick Up Zone,

Destination Address, Distance Towed (Miles), Comment)

tblVehicleDriver (Driver#, First Name, Last Name, Operator#,

Street Address, City, Zip Code, State,

Phone, Owner? )

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

what else is needed to create a rdbms for aardvark towing inc
What Else Is Needed to Create a RDBMS for Aardvark Towing, Inc.?
  • Build case for relational database management system
  • Learn business rules, data sources
  • Define and populate tables using a relational database software
  • Implement E-R diagram relationships
  • Build forms for data entry
  • Display spatial data in GIS
  • Implement spatial and aspatial queries
  • Design summary reports
  • Implementation and testing

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes