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31075 Object-relational Databases

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Information Technology: Software
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 31271 Database Fundamentals
Anti-requisite(s): 42901 Object-Relational Databases


This subject introduces students to advanced post-relational database topics including cloud databases, management of XML data and management of complex data objects. Following a brief review of relational databases and object-oriented principles, the SQL: 2003 object-relational model and language features are described in detail. The theoretical discussion of these topics is supported with practical hands-on exercises using the Oracle11g database management system.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Recognize the special requirements of modern database environments that involve complex data types and large volumes of data
2. Recognize the need for object-relational databases, and understand their use for the management of complex data types
3. State the main principles of object-oriented and object-relational databases and appreciate their relative advantages and drawbacks
4. Show working knowledge of object-relational features of the SQL standard as implemented in Oracle DBMS
5. Explain object-relational database design issues and tradeoffs
6. Explain the challenges of managing unstructured and semi-structured data and understand the role of XML and related technologies
7. Explain the requirements for the management of data in cloud computing applications and the main principles of cloud databases
8. Show ability to communicate in the form of a structured report

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Identify and apply relevant problem solving methodologies (B.1)
  • Design components, systems and/or processes to meet required specifications (B.2)
  • Develop models using appropriate tools such as computer software, laboratory equipment and other devices (C.2)
  • Communicate effectively in ways appropriate to the discipline, audience and purpose. (E.1)
  • Work as an effective member or leader of diverse teams within a multi-level, multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural setting (E.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

Lectures cover the theoretical component of the course and tutorial sessions are used to support the lectures with
illustrative examples, case studies and group discussion. During the second part of the semester, laboratory sessions
will replace tutorials. Laboratory sessions will provide hands-on experience using Oracle DBMS and provide
assistance with assignments. All subject materials and additional references will be made available on UTSOnline.

Content (topics)

1. Introduction - changing requirements for data management in organizations, new application domains, challenges of
managing complex data, management of big data, limitations of relational database technology
2. Review of basic relational database principles, evolution of the SQL standard (SQL:1986-SQL:2003), extendibility of
the relational model
3. Overview of object-oriented principles and how they apply to database, object-oriented database approach, ODMG
model, main features of OODBMS systems and implementation challenges
4. Introduction to object-relational databases: main principles, key features of SQL:2003 object model: LOBs, UDTs,
OID, REFs, Arrays and Multisets
5. SQL:2003 advanced features: typed Tables, varrays, nested tables, subtyping/inheritance, and object views
6. Programmatic SQL: SQL (PL/SQL), SQL Procedures, Functions, and Methods
7. Object-relational design and implementation technique: design issues and design options, relational vs
object-relational design
8. Advanced Topics: management of semi-structured data using XML techniques, cloud databases, database trends


Assessment task 1: Assignment


To assess students understanding of object-relational design and implementation


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

4, 5 and 8

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, B.2, C.2, E.1 and E.2

Type: Report
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness and completeness of the database design 25 5 B.1, B.2, C.2, E.2
Correctness and completeness of the implementation 25 4 B.1, E.2
Quality of assignment submission 25 8 E.1, E.2
Correctness of answers to discussion questions 25 4, 5 B.1, E.1, E.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Examination


To assess student’ understanding of key principles of object-oriented and object-relational databases and their application to management of complex data objects.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 6 and 7

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):


Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Length: 2 hours + 10 minutes reading time
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness of answers to individual questions 100 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 B.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

In order to pass this subject students must:

  • Achieve a minimum of 50% in the final examination, and
  • Achieve a minimum overall mark of 50%.

Students who do not meet these minimum requirements but achieve an overall mark of 50% or greater will fail the subject and receive their overall mark with an "X" (fail) grade.

Required texts

There is no textbook for this subject.

Recommended texts

Melton, J. , Advanced SQL: 1999 - Understanding Object-Relational and Other Advanced Features, Morgan Kaufmann, (2002), ISBN: 1558606777

Elmasri, R., Navathe S.B., Database Systems: Models, Languages, Design, and Application Programming (Chapters 10 and 11), Six Edition, Pearson, (2011), ISBN 10:0-13-214498-0

Melton, J., Simon, A.R. Understanding the New SQL : A Complete Guide, Morgan Kaufmann, 2001, ISBN: 1558604561

Ullman, J. Widom, J. A First Course in Database Systems, (Chapters 10 and 11), Third Edition, Pearso/Prentice Hall (2008), ISBN: 0-13-600637-4

Stonebraker, M., Object-Relational DBMSs: The Next Great Wave, Morgan Kaufmann, 1999. ASIN: 1558603972

Cooper, R., Object Databases: An ODMG Approach, International Thompson Computer Press, 1997

Eaglestone, B., Ridley, M., Object Databases: An Introduction, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1998, ISBN: 0-07-709354-2


Database Object-Relational Developer's Guide:

Object Database Management Systems -

Other resources

Additional subject materials will be made available on UTSOnline: