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This programme looks at the implementation of a data dictionary at West Midlands Gas. Relevant database theory is examined.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: M352, Computer based information systems
Item code: M352; 07
First transmission date: 09-08-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:30
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Producer: John Richmond
Contributors: Charles Bachman; Peter Jowett; Murray Kennedy
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Data dictionary; Data model; Data processing; Data structure; Fastrandom enquiry display system; West Midlands Gas
Footage description: The programme opens with a diagram showing the four parts of a data dictionary: data model; data structure; activity model; program description. In voice-over Warner explains that each of these will be studied in turn. Film of West Midlands Gas Regional Headquarters in Birmingham, who make use of a data dictionary system. Shots of gas bills being produced and of a large open plan office. Warner briefly outlines the scope of the West Midlands Gas operation. Film of on-line terminals in use, over which the Fast Random Enquiry Display system is briefly described. Interview with Peter Jowett, Computer Manager at West Midlands Gas, who explains why they are adopting data dictionary systems. Shots of the data processing department. Interview with Charles Bachman, Senior Scientist at Honeywell. He briefly describes the sort of problems that might be solved by a data dictionary. Over film of the data processing department Warner explains the need for consistent data definition. Interview with Murray Kennedy, Data Software Leader. He gives an example of the inconsistencies that arise when a data dictionary is not used. He uses a terminal screen to demonstrate use of a data dictionary for data definition. Using a chart showing implified data structure Kennedy explains how information about different departments is cross referenced. In interview Charles Bachman explains how a data dictionary is organised. He develops an outline schema for each segment of the data dictionary, constructing a diagram for each as he goes along. Over shots of a Bachman diagram, then of a user enquiry on a West Midlands Gas VDU, Warner relates Bachman's theoretical schema to specific activities. Shots of a VDU showing a sub-schema especially designed for this TV programme to show how programmers use the data dictionary to ensure that all sub-schemas are consistent. Shots of programmers at work. In interview Jowett explains how West Midlands Gas computing department managed before the introduction of a data dictionary. Shots of the service billing chart that was formerly used to show the inter-relation of systems. Shots of a terminal screen over which both Jowett and Warner explain that the data dictionary ensures consistency automatically. Interview with Bachman who explains how the data dictionary program keeps track of the relationship between routines and record descriptions. He again draws his own diagram of the schema to aid his explanation. Film of West Midlands Gas customer enquiries section, which uses on-line files. Shots of the VDU from which a customer enquiry is answered. In interview Jowett describes their use of a data dictionary in planning a new database system. Shots of the conceptual data chart being used. Warner comments on how programmers use the data dictionary. In interview Bachamn uses a diagram to show how the data dictionary stores the data model and cross references to the data itself. Interview with Jowett who describes how the data dictionary will be built up in future years. Shots of VDU. Warner and Bachman comment briefly on the need to relate programs to the process model. Both Jowett and Bachman state the advantages of using a data dictionary.
Production number: 00525_4277
Videofinder number: 4179
Available to public: no