Fundamentals of Relational Databases CS252 - 2011/12


For all of you who have used the revision system below, please let us know your opinions on its features at:


To remind you, the revision system with personalised features for all of you to use to help you study before the exam, is at:
You can create a new username + password (don't put anything vital or secret there, but something you'll remember).
We'll be looking forward to hearing about your progress with it via an evaluation questionnaire.
As a last note, it's obviously not obligatory to use this system, but we do hope it helps.




Please check the latest posting on the course newsgroup or forum:

Aims and Objectives

The academic aims, learning outcomes and module content are described here.

This course is a pre-requisite for 'CS253 - Topics in Database Systems'


Hugh Darwen's book, a free download, is based closely on his contribution to CS252.  Its structure and content mirror his lectures.  Much of the lecture material for the whole module is also covered in Date. The Connolly & Begg book has good material on data modelling. In general, the newer books have better examples and more detailed chapters on SQL. You will find plenty of web resources for SQL, and tutorials on SQL (some links are provided below). The "Database in Depth" book is cheaper but still covers a lot of the material.

H. Darwen, An Introduction to Relational Database Theory, ISBN 978-87-7681-500-4 Bookboon

C. Date, "An Introduction to Database Systems", Addison-Wesley Longman, 2003 (8th ed.)

C. Date, "Database in Depth: The Relational Model for Practitioners", O'Reilly, 2005

C. Begg, T. Connolly, "Database Systems: A Practical Approach to Design, Implementation and Management (International Computer Science S.)", Addison-Wesley Longman, 2004 (4th ed.)

C. Date, "The Relational Database Dictionary", O'Reilly, 2006

People involved

Dr Alexandra Cristea (module organiser)
Hugh Darwen (web), Room 115 (invited lecturer)
Adrian Hudnott (Tutorial D, Oracle, discussion site support)

Lecture Timetable Term 1, 2011/12



Monday 2pm
Monday 3pm

Tuesday 1:05pm, room CS104

Thursday 1:05pm, room CS104

Friday 1:05pm, room CS104


1 (3Oct-)



Values, Types, Variables, Operators

SQL Part 1 with notes and pdf ; pdf slides only and old pdf

Worksheet 1

2 (10Oct-)

Seminar 1

Predicates and Propositions

Relational Algebra, Part I

SQL Part 2 with notes and pdf ; pdf slides only and old pdf

Worksheet 2 and

3 (17Oct-)

Seminar 2

Relational Algebra, Part II

Relational Algebra, Part III

SQL Part 3 with notes and pdf; pdf slides only and old pdf

Worksheet 3

4 (24Oct-)

Seminar 3

Constraints and Updating

SQL Part 4 with notes and pdf; pdf slides only and old pdf

SQL Part 5 with notes and pdf; pdf slides only and old pdf

Worksheet 4

5 (31Oct-)

Seminar 4

Database Design I

Database Design II

Worksheet 5

6 (7Nov-)

Seminar 5






Worksheets will be handed out in lectures and should be attempted before the seminar for that worksheet.


Seminars will be held by Adrian Hudnott on Monday’s in Room CS101 at 2pm and 3pm. The seminars will be used to go through the exercise sheets and answer any queries about SQL and Tutorial D.

SQL Resources

Oracle 10g is available on the ITS machine mimosa. To set this up for the first time you should log on and enter:

$ orasetup

Then logout and use the command sqlplus / to enter the SQL terminal client.

$ sqlplus / Press OK on the login screen - you do not need to enter a username or password.

Oracle Support

Adrian has created a support page here.


If you have further problems with the Oracle system on mimosa then please contact the IT Services Help Desk


Online Resources

Oracle 10g Documentation
A First Course in Databases
Tutorial D Reference

Rel Resources

How to run Rel at DCS
Rel Homepage


The coursework will comprise an assignment (worth 30%) given out during the lecture on Friday the 4thth of November, Week 5 (Assignment). The deadline is Monday the 5th of December (Week 10), noon (12:00 midday). The departmental policy of feedback states that you should receive your feedback within 4 (working) weeks of your assignment.

The Exam

The exam schedule can be found at Examination Timetables.

Past Exam Papers

Past exam papers are available for download from here and questions can be asked on the module forum or by email. Exam will take place as per exam scheduling. You can obtain old exams also from the secretary.


Last year's page can be found here.



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