Effective Timestamping in Databases.

Kristian Torp, Christian S. Jensen, Richard T. Snodgrass: Effective Timestamping in Databases. VLDB J. 8(3-4): 267-288(2000)
  author    = {Kristian Torp and
               Christian S. Jensen and
               Richard T. Snodgrass},
  title     = {Effective Timestamping in Databases},
  journal   = {VLDB J.},
  volume    = {8},
  number    = {3-4},
  year      = {2000},
  pages     = {267-288},
  ee        = {db/journals/vldb/TorpJS00.html},
  bibsource = {DBLP,}


Many existing database applications place various timestamps on their data, rendering temporal values such as dates and times prevalent in database tables. During the past two decades, several dozen temporal data models have appeared, all with timestamps being integral components. The models have used timestamps for encoding two specific temporal aspects of database facts, namely transaction time, when the facts are current in the database, and valid time, when the facts are true in the modeled reality. However, with few exceptions, the assignment of timestamp values has been considered only in the context of individual modification statements.

This paper takes the next logical step: It considers the use of timestamping for capturing transaction and valid time in the context of transactions. The paper initially identifies and analyzes several problems with straightforward timestamping, then proceeds to propose a variety of techniques aimed at solving these problems. Timestamping the results of a transaction with the commit time of the transaction is a promising approach. The paper studies how this timestamping may be done using a spectrum of techniques. While many database facts are valid until now, the current time, this value is absent from the existing temporal types. Techniques that address this problem using different substitute values are presented. Using a stratum architecture, the performance of the different proposed techniques are studied. Although querying and modifying time-varying data is accompanied by a number of subtle problems, we present a comprehensive approach that provides application programmers with simple, consistent, and efficient support for modifying bitemporal databases in the context of user transactions.

Key Words

Transactions - Timestamping - NOW - Valid time - Transaction time

Copyright © 2000 by Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Permission to make digital or hard copies of the abstract is granted provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or direct commercial advantage, and that copies show this notice along with the full citation.

Online Edition (Springer)

Citation Page

ACM SIGMOD Anthology

CDROM Version: Load the CDROM "Volume 5 Issue 2, JACM, VLDB-J, POS, ..." and ... DVD Version: Load ACM SIGMOD Anthology DVD 2" and ... BibTeX


Philip A. Bernstein, Vassos Hadzilacos, Nathan Goodman: Concurrency Control and Recovery in Database Systems. Addison-Wesley 1987, ISBN 0-201-10715-5
Contents BibTeX
James Clifford, Curtis E. Dyreson, Tomás Isakowitz, Christian S. Jensen, Richard T. Snodgrass: On the Semantics of "Now" in Databases. ACM Trans. Database Syst. 22(2): 171-214(1997) BibTeX
David J. DeWitt: The Wisconsin Benchmark: Past, Present, and Future. The Benchmark Handbook 1991: 119-165 BibTeX
Opher Etzion, Sushil Jajodia, Suryanarayana M. Sripada (Eds.): Temporal Databases: Research and Practice. (the book grow out of a Dagstuhl Seminar, June 23-27, 1997). Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1399 Springer 1998, ISBN 3-540-64519-5
Contents BibTeX
Jim Gray (Ed.): The Benchmark Handbook for Database and Transaction Systems (2nd Edition). Morgan Kaufmann 1993, ISBN 1-55860-292-5
Contents BibTeX
Jim Gray, Andreas Reuter: Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques. Morgan Kaufmann 1993, ISBN 1-55860-190-2
Contents BibTeX
Kyle Geiger: Inside ODBC. Microsoft Press 1995, ISBN 1-55615-815-7
Christian S. Jensen, Curtis E. Dyreson, Michael H. Böhlen, James Clifford, Ramez Elmasri, Shashi K. Gadia, Fabio Grandi, Patrick J. Hayes, Sushil Jajodia, Wolfgang Käfer, Nick Kline, Nikos A. Lorentzos, Yannis G. Mitsopoulos, Angelo Montanari, Daniel A. Nonen, Elisa Peressi, Barbara Pernici, John F. Roddick, Nandlal L. Sarda, Maria Rita Scalas, Arie Segev, Richard T. Snodgrass, Michael D. Soo, Abdullah Uz Tansel, Paolo Tiberio, Gio Wiederhold: The Consensus Glossary of Temporal Database Concepts - February 1998 Version. Temporal Databases, Dagstuhl 1997: 367-405 BibTeX
Jim Melton, Alan R. Simon: Understanding the New SQL: A Complete Guide. Morgan Kaufmann 1993, ISBN 1-55860-245-3
Contents BibTeX
Gultekin Özsoyoglu, Richard T. Snodgrass: Temporal and Real-Time Databases: A Survey. IEEE Trans. Knowl. Data Eng. 7(4): 513-532(1995) BibTeX
Mary Tork Roth, Peter M. Schwarz: Don't Scrap It, Wrap It! A Wrapper Architecture for Legacy Data Sources. VLDB 1997: 266-275 BibTeX
Betty Salzberg: Timestamping After Commit. PDIS 1994: 160-167 BibTeX
Richard T. Snodgrass: The Temporal Query Language TQuel. ACM Trans. Database Syst. 12(2): 247-298(1987) BibTeX
Richard T. Snodgrass (Ed.): The TSQL2 Temporal Query Language. Kluwer 1995, ISBN 0-7923-9614-6
Contents BibTeX
Michael Stonebraker: The Design of the POSTGRES Storage System. VLDB 1987: 289-300 BibTeX
Michael Stonebraker, Lawrence A. Rowe, Michael Hirohama: The Implementation of Postgres. IEEE Trans. Knowl. Data Eng. 2(1): 125-142(1990) BibTeX
Kristian Torp, Christian S. Jensen, Michael H. Böhlen: Layered Temporal DBMS: Concepts and Techniques. DASFAA 1997: 371-380 BibTeX
Gio Wiederhold: Mediators in the Architecture of Future Information Systems. IEEE Computer 25(3): 38-49(1992) BibTeX
Gio Wiederhold: Mediation in Information Systems. ACM Comput. Surv. 27(2): 265-267(1995) BibTeX
Yu Wu, Sushil Jajodia, Xiaoyang Sean Wang: Temporal Database Bibliography Update. Temporal Databases, Dagstuhl 1997: 338-366 BibTeX
ACM SIGMOD Anthology - DBLP: [Home | Search: Author, Title | Conferences | Journals]
VLDB Journal: 1992-1995 Copyright © by VLDB Endowment / 1996-... Copyright © by Springer Verlag,
ACM SIGMOD Anthology: Copyright © by ACM (, Corrections:
DBLP: Copyright © by Michael Ley (, last change: Sun May 17 00:31:37 2009