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Data And Reality

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Published (first published 1978)
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4.02  · 
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 ·  85 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Ian Varley
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: practical
A classic. I treasure my copy of the 1978 edition. Yeah, it's a database book, and yeah, it's 35 years old. But it overflows with wisdom. An extended quote from the final chapter, entitled "Philosophy":

"This book projects a philosophy that life and reality are at bottom amorphous, disordered, contradictory, inconsistent, non-rational, and non-objective. Science and much of Western philosophy have in the past presented us with the illusion that things are otherwise. Rational views of the universe
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Fris en interessant boek vol gedachten over het waarnemen en beschrijven van de werkelijkheid. Zeer de moeite waard voor wie zich met data bezighoudt. Ja, je mag het van me lenen maar ik wil het wel terug!
Steve Whiting
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's long been an axiom that "data" and "information" are not the same thing. Kent shows, at great length and with considerable insight, why "information" and "meaning" are also not necessarily the same thing, and examines the issues involved in ensuring that "meaning" can be unambiguously represented and retrieved.

In this, he is both decades ahead of his time (the book was written in the mid-1970s, yet many of the issues he raises are important for the development of the Semantic Web), and als
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
tl; dr: reality is subjective, which means that no data model will be objectively correct (e.g., what is an attribute vs. a relationship, what is an entity vs. an attribute). for every business problem we make choices for the data model based on the scope, and which questions we need answered. when integrating multiple systems meant for multiple business problems, we'll have to reconcile the data models with each other. the idea that there no objective correct data model is freeing, though i was ...more
Chris Esposo
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique and informative. The book is almost 40 years old, yet still relevant to some aspects of today's data challenges. Although written by a professional DB academic (there is such a thing) and professional, the book does not read like an IT or computer science text. Instead, it reads like Bertrand Russell, or maybe Kant in analytic logic.

The being written scarcely 20 years after the invention of the relational database management system is primarily concerned about the "philosophy" of represen
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I realize that it was written for databases and information systems, but I read it in hope that it could give me some insights into systems of systems architecture. Enjoyed it, but given that I enjoy “general semantics”, Korbyski, etc. that’s no surprise. Yes, it has a philosophical tone, but that’s expected if you’re diving into Ontology.
Selena Mccracken
Imperative introduction to information science with pleasantly simplified instruction.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written some decades ago, this book almost reads as if it came out yesterday. The author pulls apart the simplifications in data modelling that are often swept under the carpet, but are a fundamental part of the realities we are trying to model.

The book loses momentum a little towards the end, and the suggested solution to some of the issues is only partially fleshed out. However, modern Semantic Web researchers will find much that is familiar.
Dave Peticolas
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book about the challenge of modeling the world with computers. It was written decades ago but it might have been written yesterday. The questions it poses have for the most part not been answered to any satisfaction. I also think it manages to foreshadow some of the more recent research about the role of metaphor in language and thought. Highly recommended.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design, entarch, haveit
Do try this book if you're into information modeling one way or the other. For me personally, 2 or 3 chapters had too much details.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer-science
A philosophy book that asks many important questions, but answers few of them. I liked it! Everyone should be aware of these points of conflict between data and reality.
Alex Linschoten
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly prescient for its time.
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