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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, Concise and Up to Date
In its ninth edition, and still going strong - what an achievement. This book surpasses it predecessors, and is a must-have for anyone remotely interest in computers: It explains everything in such simple terms, without patronising the reader. The diagrams are also clear and easy to read, and aid understanding.
Published on 29 May 2000

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful
Many people see the BCS as an authority on all aspects of Computing. Indeed many Computing professionals try to obtain BCS membership and pass BCS exams. This book lets down their reputation.

The stated target audience is for people studying computing at GCSE and above. It has a strange way of presenting the computing terms. There are 3 parts:

A...
Published on 3 July 2007 by A. J. HAWKEN


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful, 3 July 2007
By 
A. J. HAWKEN "Tony Hawken" (London - UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Glossary of Computing Terms (Paperback)
Many people see the BCS as an authority on all aspects of Computing. Indeed many Computing professionals try to obtain BCS membership and pass BCS exams. This book lets down their reputation.

The stated target audience is for people studying computing at GCSE and above. It has a strange way of presenting the computing terms. There are 3 parts:

A. How computer systems are used
B. What computer systems are made of
C. How compter systems work

Within each of these parts there are individual sections that cover one topic area within computing.

I have chosen to look at A4 (Database and Information Retrieval in detail). In this section the following terms are discussed:

Information retrieval, Database Management System(DBMS), Data dictionary, Distributed Database, Flat file, Hierarchical database, Report, Relational Database, Schema, Normal Form, Query, Data Filter, Data Warehouse.

My first concern is the ommision of important terms that are likely to be needed at both GCSE and A level. Important concepts such as key, primary key and foreign key are not present. Also, I cannot understand why the Network model is not mentioned at all, given that the hierarchical model is.

The big issue I have with this book though, are some of the definitions themselves. I will quote extracts from the book to illustrate the failing.

Data Model - is a diagram of a database (page 20)
This is wrong and likely to be confused with ER modelling or some other design methodology which should appear in this section but appears in section C2 (Systems documentation).

My understanding of a data model is a formally defined structure and theory for a particular organization of data. So for instance the relational model is a data model, so is the hierarchical model.

Relational database - is a complex database structure to hold a variety of different data. Where data items are related to each other they are linked together by pointers stored in the database.

All of this is not true. A relational database is probably the least complicated. Where relationships exist between different tables these relationships are implemented using common data values held in the primary key of one table and the foreign key of another table. The data models that use to use stored pointers are the hierarchical model and the network model.

Normal form - is a way of structuring the data in a relational database according to theorectical rules, in order to avoid problems of inefficiency in accessing and maintaining the data.

Whilst this definition is not exactly wrong, it is very weak and does not indicate what these rules might be. They could indicate that each tuple (record) must contain one value only for each attribute (field). This is an essential property for any table.

Overall I think that this glossary has much room for improvement. I have deliberately marked it down because this book has a lot of influence on teachers and writers of A-level text books which suffer by emulating some of these definitions in their books. There is certainly a need and market for a straight-forward computer glossary/dictionary aimed at GCSE and A-level students. For the moment I can only suggest that people refer to the Oxford Dictionary of Computing, which has the accuracy and sufficient depth, but may be inaccessible to many of these students.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, Concise and Up to Date, 29 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Glossary of Computing Terms (Paperback)
In its ninth edition, and still going strong - what an achievement. This book surpasses it predecessors, and is a must-have for anyone remotely interest in computers: It explains everything in such simple terms, without patronising the reader. The diagrams are also clear and easy to read, and aid understanding.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive and up to date computer reference book, 18 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Glossary of Computing Terms (Paperback)
A clear, authorative book explaining in easy to understand English many computing terms and also going in to some detail about computing diagrams and code. It contains a gossary of abbreviations at the back. This book is a must have for any student studying Computers.
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A Glossary of Computing Terms
A Glossary of Computing Terms by BCS British Computer Society (Paperback - 6 Aug 1998)
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