Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Temporal Data Models

  • Christian S. JensenEmail author
  • Richard T. SnodgrassEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_394


Bitemporal data model; Historical data model; Transaction-time data model; Valid-time data model


A “data model” consists of two components, namely a set of objects and a language for querying those objects [4]. In a temporal data model the objects vary over time, and the operations in some sense “know” about time. Focus has been on the design of data models where the time references capture valid time, or transaction time, or a combination of both (for bitemporal data).

Historical Background

Almost all real-world databases contain time-referenced data. Few interesting databases are entirely stagnant, and when the modeled reality changes, the database must be updated. Usually at least the start time of currently valid data are captured, though most databases also retain previous data.

Two decades of research into temporal databases have unequivocally shown that a time-referencing table, containing certain kinds of time-valued columns that capture one or more...

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Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Clifford J, Croker A, Tuzhilin A. On completeness of historical relational query languages. ACM Trans Database Syst. 1994;19(1):64–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jensen CS, Soo MD, Snodgrass RT. Unifying temporal data models via a conceptual model. Inf Syst. 1994;19(7):513–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Snodgrass RT. Developing time-oriented database applications in SQL. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann; 1999.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tsichritzis DC, Lochovsky FH. Data models. Software series. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall; 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Dataware VenturesTucsonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Richard T. Snodgrass
    • 1
  • Christian S. Jensen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Aalborg UniversityAalborg ØstDenmark