As the course progresses you will be building a substantial database application for a real-world scenario of your choosing. This will involve designing a relational schema for the database, and creating an actual database using a relational database management system. You will populate the database with sample data, write interactive queries and modifications on the database, and develop user-friendly tools for manipulating the database.
For your first task, you must identify the domain you would like to manage with your database. I suggest that you pick an application that you will enjoy working with, since you'll be stuck with it for the rest of the semester. I predict that if you pick something about which you are excited -- a hobby, material from another course, a research project, etc. -- you will maximize what you learn from this class (not to mention have more fun in the process). You should also consider what purpose your proposed database will have. Think about the types of queries you would want to ask for which the database would be useful.
Try to pick an application that is relatively substantial, but not too enormous. For example, after expressing it in the entity-relationship model, you might want your design to have in the range of five to seven entity sets, and a similar or slightly larger number of relationships. A reasonable design might have a total number of entity sets plus relationships in the 10-18 range; I will look askance at proposals having more or fewer. Be aware, however, that entity sets or relationships that should be represented by attributes instead (a matter we'll discuss in class) do not "count." If in doubt, pick a more complex domain and then only model a sufficiently rich subset of the domain.
You should certainly include different kinds of relationships (e.g., many-one, many-many) and different kinds of data (strings, integers, etc.), but your application is not required to use advanced features, such as subclassing, multiway relationships, or weak entity sets, if they are not appropriate for your application.
Having settled on a problem domain for your project, your next step is to construct an entity-relationship diagram. Your entity-relationship diagram should reflect a moderate number of entity sets and relationships -- in the 10-18 range. You should have already been thinking about the types of queries you want to run. In other words, what is the intended purpose of the database? The answer to this question should guide your modeling process.
You should certainly include different kinds of relationships (e.g., many-one, many-many) and different kinds of data (strings, integers, etc.), but your application is not required to use advanced features, such as subclassing, multiway relationsships, or weak entity sets, unless they are appropriate for your application.
Write a document that describes in words the database application you propose to work with throughout the course. Your description should be brief and relatively informal but should include sufficient motivation to explain why this is an interesting database proposal and sufficient description to discern that your scope is not too large or too small. If there are any unique or particularly difficult aspects of your proposed application, please point them out. Your description will be graded on suitability, completeness and conciseness.
In your submission, include your entity-relationship diagram as described above. Don't forget to save a copy of your E/R diagram for later reference and revision as you work on subsequent parts of the PDA.