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IPT: S&E Issues with Databases

posted Feb 18, 2009, 3:29 AM by Eddie Woo   [ updated Feb 23, 2009, 5:02 AM by Unknown user ]
Edit: just to recap this morning's lesson, there are three tasks that you ought to have done by next Tuesday:
  1. The hypermedia schematic diagram of (a) your portfolio or sandbox section and (b) a public website of your choice.
  2. The design and schematic diagram for your comprehensive library database (done in groups).
  3. The Heinemann questions below, which relate to the social and ethical issues arising from databases.

Exercise 2.5

(1) A flat-file database is used by a school for student records. There are separate files for student data, financial data, teacher data and assessment results. A relational database has been suggested to the principal as a better system. Outline the advantages of a relational database over a flat-file database in this particular context. Your answer should contain references to data accuracy, data redundancy, security and development time.

(2) Privacy and access to data are two important issues related to databases. Consider a student database containing name, address, gender, ethnicity, family, financial status, health, discipline record and assessment results. Should access to this data be given to the student, other students, teachers, the Department of Education, potential employers or other organisations? Is there a need to provide some groups with limited access? Explain your answers.

(3) "Databases should not have the same copyright protection as books and software." Do you agree with this statement? Give reasons.

(4) Max Music is a small business that offers an online shopping service for customers via the Internet. Customers place orders for CDs using their credit cards and register preferences for categories of music. This data is stored in a database. Research indicates that preferences for music are also a good indicator for book and video preferences. Describe the ethical issues raised if Max Music sells each customer's preferences to a book company.