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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 l.jpg
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Second Step: Identify Primary Keys for Entity Sets Sets

Primary Key: Has a unique value for every entity

Candidate Key: Alternate primary key

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

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Third Step: Identify Attributes of Entity Sets Sets

Attribute: Characteristic or property of entities

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

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Data Example: tblTruck Sets

MIS 90-728 Lecture Notes

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(performs a) Sets

(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

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One Sets 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

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Last Step: Full Relational Database Model Sets

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 VIN@, 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

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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