In your blog this week talk briefly about what concepts in this unit you found most difficult. Are there still things that are unclear? How might you go about furthering your understanding of these topics?
The topic that was most complex was the process of normalizing relational databases. Fortunately, it was mostly review for me, since I worked for a few years designing and managing databases for research projects and small businesses. Since I was a math minor in college, the math was much more accessible to me then; I have forgotten much of the math I once knew, so the equations are much harder now. Fortunately you don’t need to understand the math to understand the concepts. This has been a good refresher, and of course the theory has progressed since then.
MySQL was pretty straight-forward; since I have used database queries and programmed them before, (although in older PC-based DBMSs like dBaseIV and rBase) the concepts are quite similar. I also had no problems setting up some sample tables on my virtual machine and running through the tutorials.
I plan to continue studying this topic (since I see myself probably creating and working with databases in the future) by trying out different database designs on my system and continuing to read about and do tutorials about MySQL. I would eventually like to end up making the ultimate database of George Eliot resources available on a webpage called Everything Eliot (or something like that). She is one of the few remaining major Victorian figures lacking a major web portal.
A George Eliot knowledge base would be very interesting. I wonder about making it wiki-based, though; I did a little exploratory research about open source knowledge base management systems and there seem to be a few available that are based upon wikis rather than tables. I have an interest in expert systems and knowledge base design from long ago, especially developing heuristic models of knowledge rather than statistical.