INF 385M - Database Management Principles and ApplicationsSchool of Information - The University of Texas at Austin
Fall, 2007

Course Catalog Description

Database management systems, including architecture, design, administration and implementation. Evaluation and use of database-management systems for microcomputers. (Graduate standing)

Extended Course Description

Principles and practices of database management and database design. Discussion and practice cover database application lifecycle, data dictionaries, relational database design, SQL queries, reports and other interfaces to database data, and documentation. Lectures also cover Web databases, multimedia databases, and ethical and privacy issues associated with database systems. Individual and group projects.

Objectives and Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should:

Specific learning outcomes include being able to:


This course will concentrate on the fundamentals of database design, but will also include a substantial amount of time on other topics related to database management systems, such as the advantages and disadvantages of database management systems, the roles various people play in developing and managing these systems, and the range of different types of systems.

See the Schedule page for a detailed list of the topics that will be covered each week during the course, as well as any readings or assignments that should be done.


There are two required texts for this course, which are available at the Co-op, online bookstores, and at local bookstores, such as Intellectual Property and Book People:

Tahaghoghi, Seyed M.M. "Saied" & Williams, Hugh. (2006). Learning MySQL. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN: 0596008643 [book web site]

MacDonald, Matthew. (2006). Access 2007: The Missing Manual. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN: 0596527608 [book sample files]

There are also a handful of required supplementary readings. These are listed on the Resources page and referenced on the Schedule page for the week in which they are to be read.

Though they aren't required, you might also find one of the books below helpful during the semester. These are on 3-day reserve at the PCL.

Hernandez, Michael J. (2003). Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Elmasri, R. & Navathe, S. Fundamentals of Database Systems. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

There are many other database design and database system books available at PCL, including older editions of the two books above. For the most part, older editions of database design books are fine for general supplemental reading. Poke around QA 76.9 D... in the PCL stacks.

Several of the assignments in this course require that you use a database management application program to create your own database. You will use Microsoft Access for Assignment 2 and Assignment 6 and MySQL for Assignment 5. You will have the option to use either of those applications for Assignment 7. We will spend some class time working with Access and MySQL, but you should expect to spend significant time outside class learning how to use these applications. In addition to the two required textbooks, some resources for learning Access, MySQL, and other database topics are listed on the Resources page.

Assignments and Grading

You will not have to take exams or write formal academic papers in this course; instead, there are seven assignments designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply the concepts covered in class to database design problems similar to what you might encounter in a wide variety of information professions. Assignments 2 and 5 will be done partially in class and will not count towards your final grade, though you will still have to turn those assignments in. Each of the other assignments is worth a specific number of points, as noted in the assignment details. Your cumulative score on all graded assignments will largely determine your final grade for the course, with each assignment weighted like so:

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 0%
Assignment 3 20%
Assignment 4 20%
Assignment 5 0%
Assignment 6 20%
Assignment 7 25%

Thus, the assignments total 95% of your final grade; the remaining 5% will be based on class participation and other indicators of level of effort.

All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late assignments will only be accepted if the instructor grants permission, at least 24 hours before the due date, for the student to turn the assignment in late, on an agreed-upon date. Except in extreme circumstances, late assignments will be docked several points for each day they are late.

Assignments 4 and 7 will be done in groups of two or possibly three people, depending on the scope of the project.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic adjustments for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, visit the Services for Students with Disabilities web page or contact them at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (VP).

©Gary Geisler
Last revised November 14, 2007