CS377: Database Design - Data Organization: Fields, Records, and Keys

Activity Goals

The goals of this activity are:
  1. To define a record, field, and key in a database system
  2. To explain the importance and challenges of internal consistency

The Activity


Consider the activity models and answer the questions provided. First reflect on these questions on your own briefly, before discussing and comparing your thoughts with your group. Appoint one member of your group to discuss your findings with the class, and the rest of the group should help that member prepare their response. Answer each question individually from the activity on the Class Activity Questions discussion board. After class, think about the questions in the reflective prompt and respond to those individually in your notebook. Report out on areas of disagreement or items for which you and your group identified alternative approaches. Write down and report out questions you encountered along the way for group discussion.

Model 1: Records, Fields, and Keys

Ham Radio Logbook Showing Two Records with Slighly Different Field Values


  1. What records do you see in the data? What fields?
  2. What should happen if a particular field does not have a value?
  3. Two records are sometimes linked together; what do you think this means in this application?
  4. The two records are somewhat different; how, and what should be done about this?
  5. What field(s) are most likely to be unique throughout the table? These are referred to as a key, but a single serial number is often used instead to guarantee uniqueness.

Model 2: Internal Consistency

An Example Gradebook


  1. Which fields should a user be able to update? Which ones should a user not update directly, and why?


Submit your answers to the questions using the Class Activity Questions discussion board. You may also respond to questions or comments made by others, or ask follow-up questions there. Answer any reflective prompt questions in the Reflective Journal section of your OneNote Classroom personal section.