Encyclopedia of Database Systems

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

Visual Query Language

  • Tiziana CatarciEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_448


Visual query system


Visual query languages (VQLs) are languages for querying databases that use a visual representation to depict the domain of interest and express related requests. VQLs provide a language to express the queries in a visual format, and they are oriented toward a wide spectrum of users, especially novices who have limited computer expertise and generally ignore the inner structure of the accessed database. Systems implementing VQLs are usually called visual query systems (VQSs) [1].

Historical Background

The birth of VQLs was due to several needs, including providing a friendly human-computer interaction, allowing database search by nontechnical users, and introducing a mechanism for comfortable navigation even in case of incomplete and ambiguous queries. It is worth noting that the real precursor of VQLs was QBE, already proposed by Moshe Zloof in 1977 [2].

QBE was really ahead of its time. Indeed, the Zloof’s paper states: “the formulation of a...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Catarci T, Costabile MF, Levialdi S, Batini C. Visual query systems for databases: a survey. J Vis Lang Comput. 1997;8(2):215–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zloof MM. Query-by-example: a database language. IBM Syst J. 1977;16(4):324–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Smith DC. Pygmalion: a computer program to model and stimulate creative thought. Basel: Birkhauser Verlag; 1977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kay A. Personal dynamic media. IEEE Comput. 1977;10(3):31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Reisner P. Query languages. In: Helander MM, editor. Handbook of human-computer interaction. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1988. p. 257–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yen MY, Scamell RW. A human factors experimental comparison of SQL and QBE. IEEE Trans Softw Eng. 1993;19(4):390–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Batini C, Catarci T, Costabile MF, Levialdi S. Visual query systems: a taxonomy – nei. In: Proceedings of the 2nd IFIP W.G. 2.6 Working Conference on Visual Databases; 1991.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chandra AK. Programming primitives for database languages. In: Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGACT-SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages; 1981. p. 50–62.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chandra AK. Theory of database queries. In: Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGACT-SIGMOD-SIGART Symposium on Principles of Database Systems; 1988. p. 1–9.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Boyle J, Leishman S, Gray PMD. From WIMP to 3D: the development of AMAZE. J Vis Lang Comput. 1996;7:291–319 (Special issue on visual query systems).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ahlberg C, Shneiderman B. Visual information seeking: tight coupling of dynamic query filters with starfield displays. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems; 1994. p. 313–7.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chang SK, Costabile MF, Levialdi S. Reality bites – progressive querying and result visualization in logical and VR spaces. In: Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium Visual Languages; 1994. p. 100–9.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tsuda K, Yoshitaka A, Hirakawa M, Tanaka M, Ichikawa T. Iconic browser: an iconic retrieval system for object-oriented databases. J Vis Lang Comput. 1990;1(1):59–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Geronimenko V, Chen C, editors. Visualising the semantic web. Berlin: Springer; 2002.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Angelaccio M, Catarci T, Santucci G. QBD*: a graphical query language with recursion. IEEE Trans Softw Eng. 1990;16(10):1150–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ahlberg C, Williamson C, Shneidermann B. Dynamic queries for information exploration: an implementation and evaluation. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems; 1992. p. 619–26.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Badre AN, Catarci T, Massari A, Santucci G. Comparative ease of use of a diagrammatic vs. an iconic query language. In: Kennedy J, Barclay PJ, editors. Interfaces to databases, Electronic series workshop in computing. New York: Springer; 1996.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bevan N, Macleod M. Usability assessment and measurement. In: Kelly M, editor. The management of software quality. Hampshire: Ashgate Technical/Gower Press; 1993.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Catarci T, Santucci G. Diagrammatic vs textual query languages: a comparative experiment. In: Proceedings of the IFIP W.G. 2.6 Working Conference on Visual Databases; 1995. p. 57–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Automatica e Gestionale “A.Ruberti”Sapienza – Università di RomaRomeItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tiziana Catarci
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. di Ingegneria Informatica, Automatica e GestionaleUniversita di RomaRomaItaly