ABSTRACT A database stores data in order to provide the user with information. However, how a database may achieve this is not always clear. The main reason for this seems that we, who are in the database community, have not fully understood and therefore clearly defined the notion of “the information that data in a database carry”, in other words, “the information content of data”. As a result, databases’ capability is limited in terms of answering queries, especially, when users explore information beyond the scope of data stored in a database, the database normally cannot provide it. The underlying reason of the problem is that queries are answered based on a direct match between a query and data (up to aggregations of the data). We observe that this is because the information that data carry is seen as exactly the data per se. To tackle this problem, we propose the notion of information content inclusion relation, and show that it formulates the intuitive notion of the “information content of data” and then show how this notion may be used for the derivation of information from data in a database.
Cite this paper
nullJ. Feng and D. Salt, "Information Content Inclusion Relation and its Use in Database Queries," Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2010, pp. 255-267. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2010.33031.
 T. Connolly and C. Begg, “Database systems: A practical approach to design, implementation, and manage- ment,” Pearson Education, 2004.
Y. Feng, “Database foundation,” Hua Zhong Institute of Technology Press, 1986.
J. Mingers, “Information and meaning: Foundations for an intersubjective account,” Information Systems Journal, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 285–306, 1995.
F. Dretske, “Knowledge and the flow of information,” CSLI Publications, Stanford, 1999.
S. Wang, C. Lin, and J. Feng, “A hermeneutic approach to the notion of information in IS,” Proceedings of the 7th WSEAS International Conference on Simulation, Model- ing and Optimization, pp. 400–404, 2007.
J. Feng and M. Crowe, “The notion of ‘Classes of a Path’ in ER Schemas,” Proceedings of 3rd East European Conference on Advances in Databases and Information Systems, Springer, Berlin, 1999.
J. Barwise and J. Seligman, “Information flow: The logic of distributed systems,” Cambridge University Press, 1997.
H. Xu and J. Feng, “Towards a definition of the ‘informa- tion bearing capability’ of a conceptual data schema,” Systems Theory and Practice in the Knowledge Age, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2002.
R. Hull, “Relative information capacity of simple relational database schemata,” SIAM Journal of Computing, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 856–886, 1984.
R. J. Miller, Y. E. Ioannidis, and R. Ramakrishnan, “The use of information capacity in schema integration and translation,” Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases, Dublin, Ireland, pp. 120–133, 1993.
R. J. Miller, Y. E. Ioannidis, and R. Ramakrishnan, “Schema equivalence in heterogeneous Systems: Bridging theory and practice,” Information Systems, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 3–31, 1994.
L. Floridi, “Is semantic information meaningful data?” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 70, No. 2, pp. 351–370, 2005.
K. Xu, J. Feng, and M. Crowe, “Defining the notion of ‘information content’ and reasoning about it in a data- base,” Knowledge and Information Systems, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2009.
J. Feng, “The ‘information content’ problem of a concep- tual data schema,” Systemist, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 221-233, November 1998.
A. Shimojima, “On the efficacy of representation,” Ph.D. Thesis, Indiana University, 1996.
Y. Wang and J. Feng J, “FCA assisted IF channel constru- ction towards formulating conceptual data modeling,” WSEAS Transactions on Systems, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 1159–1167, June 2007.
E. Eessaar, “Guidelines about usage of the complex data types in a database,” WSEAS Transactions on Information Science and Applications, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 712–719, April 2006.
S. Urman, R. Hardman, and M. McLaughlin, “Oracle data- base 10G PL/SQL programming,” McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004.
X. Wu and J. Feng, “A framework and implementation of information content reasoning in a database,” WSEAS Transactions on Information Science and Applications, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 579–588, April 2009.