ER Diagrams, Naming Conventions, and Design Issues
Notation for ER Diagrams?
The individual entity instances in an entity set and the individual relationship instances in a relationship set. In ER diagrams the emphasis is on representing the schemas rather than the instances. This is more useful in database design because a database schema changes rarely, whereas the contents of the entity sets change frequently. In addition, the schema is obviously easier to display, because it is much smaller.
Figure 7.2 displays the COMPANY ER database schema as an ER diagram. We now review the full ER diagram notation. Entity types such as EMPLOYEE, DEPARTMENT, and PROJECT are shown in rectangular boxes. Relationship types such as WORKS_FOR, MANAGES, CONTROLS, and WORKS_ON are shown in diamond-shaped boxes attached to the participating entity types with straight lines. Attributes are shown in ovals, and each attribute is attached by a straight line to its entity type or relationship type. Component attributes of a composite attribute are attached to the oval representing the composite attribute, as illustrated by the Name attribute of EMPLOYEE. Multivalued attributes are shown in double ovals, as illustrated by the Locations attribute of DEPARTMENT. Key attributes have their names underlined. Derived attributes are shown in dotted ovals, as illustrated by the Number_of_employees attribute of DEPARTMENT.
Weak entity types are distinguished by being placed in double rectangles and by having their identifying relationship placed in double diamonds, as illustrated by the DEPENDENT entity type and the DEPENDENTS_OF identifying relationship type. The partial key of the weak entity type is underlined with a dotted line.