Temporal Database

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What Does Temporal Database Mean?

A temporal database is a database that has certain features that support time-sensitive status for entries. Where some databases are considered current databases and only support factual data considered valid at the time of use, a temporal database can establish at what times certain entries are accurate.

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Techopedia Explains Temporal Database

Dating from the early 1990s, development communities looked to develop specific guidelines for temporal databases in order to represent time frames for entries. Elements of temporal databases include "valid time" indicators and "transaction time" indicators. Experts describe the "valid time" as the time an entry is expected to be true or valid, and "transaction time" as an internal reference for databases. The valid time tables are also called "application time" tables, while transaction time tables can be referred to as "system version" tables.

Technologies including Oracle, Teradata and SQL have versions with temporal feature support.

Different uses of temporal databases require radically different types of development. For example, in a database of customer, patient or citizen data, indicators for individual people will follow a kind of life cycle timeline that can be created according to time frames for comment life events. By contrast, many industrial processes using temporal databases need extremely short valid time and transaction time indicators. These are rigidly implemented depending on length of time for various parts of business processes.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.