First of all I would like to point out that I'm a big fan of your seminars. A couple of years ago I had the pleasure to attend the two sessions you delivered at the PASS conference in Denver and they opened my eyes. I started reading your book and ended up reading several books from Date and Darwen and, although I'm sure I still have a lot to learn, they changed completely my way of thinking about databases (and of doing training, even if the context of a course focused on a SQL product). The more I read, thinking also about the articles on your web site, the more I realize how the whole IT field needs to be educated about relational technology. --Gianluca H., Managing Director, Microsoft SQL Server MVP

I love your writing (books, articles, site postings). You're a beacon of rationality in an irrational (and increasingly confused) industry, and I rely on your site to help settle and focus my mind - for example, after days "refactoring" (I'm always tempted to spell that with a U instead of an A) XML "data stores" here at work. Thank you. --Eric K., Senior Software Developer

I just wanted to thank all of you folks at DBDebunk for giving me a reason to continue doing my job!! And for providing me a safe haven where I can be reassured that I am not out of my mind for trying so hard to do this "modeling thing" well. I am faced with the "dumbed down" masses daily--and have almost abandoned all hope. ... Thanks for giving me the shovel I so desperately need to dig out from under all their "knowledge"!! --Patricia E., (Beleaguered) Principal  Architect.

I have found your work immensely useful in understanding database principles. I and a few colleagues have spent the better part of two years implementing our own data storage platform, observing those principles as best we have been able to, with very satisfying results. --Jesper L., Ph.D.C.Sc., Head of Research & Development

My brief comments are based on my appreciation for your efforts to raise the educational level within the database profession. It's certainly not that "path of least resistance" you might have instead chosen. In particular, your books have helped me a great deal in my database design work. PRACTICAL ISSUES IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT was especially good, especially once I found the errata to fix some problems I had on initial reading. --Keith L., Computer Software Consultant

Roy Ashbrook: Nulls to Codd to Fabian Pascal!

Jonathan Lewis: Criticism

Ian Gilfillan: Arrogance, slashing Slashdot (and MySQL) and the end of America

Dev Shed: The database curmudgeon speaks again


[Current DBMS] deficiencies are, it seems to me, directly due to the widespread lack of understanding (not least on the part of vendors), of fundamental database principles. Certainly it is undeniable that they flout those principles in numerous ways. And the practical consequences are all too obvious. First, users must understand where the deficiencies lie. Second, they have to understand just why they are deficiencies. Third, they have to understand how to work around them. Fourth, they have to devote time and effort in persuading the vendors to remedy them.

The trouble is, of course, users too tend to be unaware of those same fundamental principles and, hence, find themselves unable to carry out their side of the "contract" (a "contract" that should not have been allowed, or agreed to in the first place, of course). What is more, this sad state of affairs is not likely to change given the apparent lack of interest on the part of the trade press--itself unaware these same principles--in trying to improve matters.--C. J. Date

Database practitioners and users today are not familiar with the history and fundamentals of the field. Consequently, technology is actually regressing! --F. Pascal


DATABASE DEBUNKINGS is an educational blog:

  • To correct myths and misconceptions about and explain the practical implications of data fundamentals--concepts, principles and methods--that receive little, incorrect, or no coverage in the industry, in language accessible to data professionals and users;
  • Dedicated to and intended for anybody who interacts with data and databases, who prefers to think for herself/himself, to understand rather than take a "cookbook" approach, and to prefer soundness to fads and fashion;
  • Focused on education--as distinct from tool-specific training--and is, therefore, useful for any and all DBMS products used.


  • Articles: Occasionally we will publish longer articles on topics of interest;
  • Papers: The PRACTICAL DATABASE FOUNDATIONS series of papers;  
  • Seminars: Accessible education on data fundamentals;
  • To Laugh or Cry?: Links to material for which it is difficult to know which of the two reactions is warranted;
  • Weekly Quotes: to illustrate the poor state of foundation knowledge and offer readers an opportunity to test themselves on their knowledge and comprehension of data fundamentals;
  • We relie on reader submissions--comments, questions, examples of good and bad practices, requests for clarification and so on--consistent with its focus on data fundamentals. Submissions that link practice to fundamentals will be particularly useful. Consequently, its value depends heavily on participation.

The blog is free. However, maintaining such an effort at a high level of quality and usefulness demands time, effort and expenses. Those who deem it interesting and valuable should be supportive via purchases of books, papers and seminars, or contributions.

We look forward to debunking and have interesting exchanges again/


Fabian Pascal

Independent author, educator and consultant specializing in data fundamentals and the relational model. Authored three books and hundreds of articles for the trade press, taught seminars at the business and academic levels and lectured and industry events. Clients include IBM, Census Bureau, CIA, Apple, UCSF, Golden Gate University and IRS, among others. Since 2000 founder, editor and publisher of DATABASE DEBUNKINGS blog and the PRACTICAL DATABASE FOUNDATIONS series of seminars and papers, dedicated to making data fundamentals accessible to data practitioners without compromising theoretical rigor -- a non-trivial task.




  1. Hi
    Where can I find
    Database Design, Relational Fidelity and SQL, Parts 1-4, www.dbdebunk.com

    1. The old dbdebunk site, archived @the Internet Archive.

      However, I recommend you stick to the current site -- most of the material has been revised--particularly the papers and my latest book.

  2. Thanks. I found what I wanted in the newer papers. I was chasing up a reference in THE DBDEBUNK GUIDE TO MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DATA FUNDAMENTALS .

  3. Hhhmmm. Can you pls tell me in what section of the book is that reference? If it's one to the old site I must correct it.

  4. Come on and be real: All know that there is an idiot at the helm. Americans, put yourselves together,