Database schema examples are easy to find. But not all of them will meet your needs. Here’s how to find helpful examples of database design.
Database schema examples are easy to find. A Google search will return millions of results. The problem is that you don’t need millions of sample database models. You need at most two or three that solve your specific needs. What you should look for is a curated list of database schema examples and learning resources.
The difference between a broad search and a curated list is that the curated list contains only the most relevant items. If you are looking for valuable information, a curated list will allow you to save time; you’re reaping the fruits of the labor someone else took to separate the worthwhile from the irrelevant. And that’s just what this article is: a curated list of places to find precisely the database schema examples you need.
To make this list even more useful, it is divided into two main groups: resources for beginners (who need to understand the basics of database schema design), and resources for expert designers looking to expand their knowledge of specific topics.
Database Schema Examples for Beginners
If you are looking for database schema examples that will help you take your first steps in data modeling, I advise you to go for simple examples. These illustrate basic design concepts: relationship types, normal forms, OLAP schema types, etc. To find these kinds of examples, you can resort to courses, conferences, basic-level books, and company websites that publicly offer resources for learning database design. There are also sites where database designers chat and exchange information, although these will be more useful only when you have more experience.
If you are learning about database design, there’s one thing it’s very important to understand. To fully grasp the concepts, it is not enough to copy database diagram examples. For those examples to really work for you, you need to know the underlying logic that led to their creation. That is why the courses, articles, and books I mention below give the explanation behind their schemas. You will also find the theoretical foundations necessary to be able to build those schemas.
Most of these learning resources take you by the hand through a gradual learning path, starting from what a database is all the way to how to optimize your database schemas for maximum performance and data integrity.
This course gives you the necessary knowledge to design relational databases. It does this by taking a walk through database schema examples. You don’t need to know SQL or have programming experience to take this course. In addition, it explains normalization, normal forms, relationships, primary/foreign keys, and other important topics. With almost three hours of video lessons, this course demonstrates how to shape a database using entity-relationship diagrams.
By following this course, you will learn other fundamental issues of software development – e.g. how to do requirements gathering to create your database. The course also explains how to identify entities and their attributes from a requirements definition.
Hevodata is a data source integration platform. As part of its outreach efforts, it offers a comprehensive database design guide with a large number of schema examples. In this guide, you can find simple schema examples that illustrate the basic concepts of data modeling. It also covers specific examples for real applications like online banking, hotel reservations, and financial transactions.
In addition, Hevo’s guide also offers a series of best practices for schema design, including the correct use of nulls, protecting data integrity, and applying naming standards.
If you are reading this, you are probably already familiar with Vertabelo’s blog and the wealth of material it offers for both novice and experienced database designers. What you may not know is that there is an easy way to find all the posts that contain database model examples. If you go to the page corresponding to the tag "example data model", you’ll get an extensive list of articles featuring example data models. You will not only see the data models themselves, you will also get the explanations of the design decisions that guided their creation. You will also find a detailed guide to database schema design that you could follow as a sure path to a successful database schema.
The examples on Vertabelo’s blog are not just for beginners. There is everything from basic models that illustrate some theoretical aspect of design – such as 5 examples of conceptual diagrams – to models created for very specific uses, such as an emergency call service.
Check out Vertabelo’s other useful resources on database design. Here are a few to get you started:
- What Skills and Knowledge Do Database Designers Need?
- Top 7 Database Schema Design Tools
- The 9 Most Common Database Design Errors
- Common ER Diagram Mistakes
This book provides a non-academic introduction to database design. It is geared toward “mere mortals” who are looking to create database schemas without having to rely on an expert designer. The author includes a wealth of useful tips for novice designers. Both concepts and tips are illustrated by database schema examples that can be used in creating a database from scratch.
Some readers point out that the work methodology proposed by the author requires too many meetings and interviews with users. Others, however, say that all that extra work is what is needed to successfully move from unclear initial definitions to concrete and effective designs.
This course offers a complete introduction to database design and modeling. It starts with the basic theory and moves to working on a real project: the creation of a MySQL database for an online store. The course covers a very complete set of basic to advanced database schema design topics.
Throughout the lessons, you’ll learn what a database is, what a relational database is, and what database design is. There’s even a list of the most frequently asked questions in job interviews for a database designer position (along with their answers).
If you follow the course to its end, you will have a real database schema that you can use for an e-commerce website.
In this course, you will get several OLAP (online analytics processing) and OLTP (online transaction processing) database model examples. The OLAP examples include schemas for different types of data warehouses, such as star and snowflake. In addition, the course teaches you how to work with different types of views. It covers database administration concepts, such as access and user management, table partitioning, and storage management.
You’ll need at least 4 hours for the 13 videos and 52 exercises in this course. You’ll learn how to organize and store information efficiently as well as how to structure your schemas through normalization. The examples include schemas for book sales, car rentals, and music reviews.
If you accept the fact that you are a beginner in database design – but one that’s determined to follow the path to database mastery – this is the book for you. It has examples of well-done database schemas as well as a few examples of bad schemas. The bad examples include a detailed explanation of what the problems are and how to correct them.
The author takes examples of database schemas from her real-life experience to highlight the kinds of problems that can result from poor design. Her goal is to motivate the reader to adopt good design practices, whether they intend to transform their designs into relational database schemas or just Excel spreadsheets.
Database Schema Examples for Experienced Designers
Database designers with a few years of experience also need database schema examples from time to time. These examples could save the experienced designer a lot of effort and build on the path paved by others who have previously faced the same challenges.
But the resources that may serve an experienced designer are not the same as those for a beginner. For example, an experienced designer would not need a book that gives the reader a tour of the theoretical foundations of data modeling. For that reason, the resources listed below are curated specifically with the needs of an experienced designer in mind. You could start by browsing some interesting Blog Articles on Database Design Best Practices and Tips, which can give you a quick answer to your specific needs. What you would surely need as an experienced database schema designer are these tips for staying relevant as a data modeler.
At more than 1,000 pages, this book has become one of the fundamental texts on database design. It offers a large number of database schema examples which are used extensively in lieu of formal proofs of theoretical concepts.
Some familiarity with basic data structures, computer organization, and high-level programming languages is a prerequisite for reading this book. Although much of the material is aimed at students in the first years of database careers, there is also supplementary content that is extremely useful for expert designers looking for answers to specific questions.
If you are looking for examples of the pitfalls to avoid when designing a database schema, you need this book. Of the four major sections into which the book is divided, two are devoted exclusively to analyzing erroneous design patterns (one for logical database design, the other for physical design).
This book is not just for database designers. It is material that should be read by all application programmers who use databases, as well as any data analyst or data scientist. Reading these pages reaffirms concepts that are perfectly clear from the early days of the relational model but that many so-called experts still don't understand. To mention a couple of examples, these include the fact that normalizing a schema “too much” can hurt performance and that some tables don’t need a primary key.
If this book was required reading in programming courses, many application development problems that end up being attributed to poor database management system performance would be avoided.
It’s well known that virtually any software development question will have some answer on Stack Overflow. The downside is that, with such a wealth of information, it is often difficult to find just what you need. To refine the results of a search on Stack Overflow, it is a good idea to use tags. These are indicated in square brackets in the site’s search bar and act as filters to retrieve only articles that have been tagged with the text written in square brackets. For example, placing the text [
database-design] in the search bar will return posts tagged with
Even so, the number of results can still be overwhelming. A more effective filter can be obtained by applying these three tags at the same time:
entity-relationship. These three tags can be specified in the search bar, like this:
Or you can simply enter a URL with all the three tags already applied:
Examples and answers to thousands of advanced questions about database schema design can be found in the results of this search.
To find publications about a specific text within tag results, you can add free text to the search. This will return only publications that include that text in any part of their content.
For example, suppose you want to search for recursive relationships in the results of the tags for database design, relational database, and entity-relationship. To do this, you simply have to add the text “recursive relationships” to the tags already entered in the search bar, like this:
Don’t Settle for Just Database Schema Examples
If you were to learn basic algebra, you would have a hard time doing it solely with examples of mathematical operations and their results. You can see hundreds of examples of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But if you don’t study the theoretical foundation of each operation, you are unlikely to really learn basic algebra. The same goes for database design.
Examples of database schemas are very useful so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you must solve a problem that someone else has already solved before. But it is important to grasp the theoretical foundation behind each example. Understand why each design decision was made so that you can learn from the examples rather than just using them.