Although many varieties of sophisticated software are available for database construction, they impose very little restriction on their implemented form. Indeed, it would fly in the face of database philosophy to impose the form of implementation, for this would not encourage features like responsiveness to new requests (Bailey, Creel, Grossman, Gutti, and Sivakumar, 55-57). Thus each operational database is unique, even if the software used in constructing it is an industry standard. A piece of advice one gets from software manuals is to develop two mental pictures of one’s unique database. The first picture is of the contents of the database and the way it is organized; and the second picture is of what can be done with the contents.
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Briefly, in the case of the small firms database, the contents were the qualitative and quantitative data obtained with the three instruments AQ 1985, SSI 1985, and RIQ 1988; and the way in which they were handled was governed by a language made available with the software used, known as SQL (Structural Query Language) (Grossman, Hornick, and Meyer, 59-61). This paper starts by analyzing SQL versions as to how it was designed and structured and continues by explaining how SQL may be applied to solve concrete problems and tasks.
The database was initially created in 1985 and then extended in 1988. In 1985 the numerical and categorical data collected for each SBE using the AQ 1985 were stored in one record type (type 1 record) and corresponded to the replies recorded in the questionnaire completed with each owner-manager. Every SBE had one of these records, although information on all items for each firm was not always available. Such data were assigned a missing value. For some of the SBEs there were in addition a set of agenda records which contained the textual information of the summary notes constructed after the SSI 1985 (Grossman, Creel, Mazzucco,...