Encyclopedia of Database Systems

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

Temporal Database

  • Christian S. JensenEmail author
  • Richard T. SnodgrassEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_395


Historical database; Time-oriented database


A temporal database is a collection of time-referenced data. In such a database, the time references capture some temporal aspect of the data; put differently, the data are timestamped. Two temporal aspects are prevalent. The time references may capture either the past and current states of the database, yielding a transaction-time database; they may capture states of the reality being modeled by the data, yielding a valid-time database; or they may capture both aspects of the data, yielding a bitemporal database.

Historical Background

“Time” is a fundamental concept that pervades all aspects of daily life. As one indicator, a recent study by Oxford University Press found that the word “time” is the most commonly used noun in the English language. The nouns “year” and “day” rank third and fifth in the study.

Moving to a database context, the capture and representation of time-varying information go back literally thousands...

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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