SGER: An Exploration of the Presentation Data Model,
Usable Databases Through Organic Technology

Funded by NSF grants number IIS 0741620 and IIS 1017296.


Database researchers have striven to improve the capability of a database in terms of both performance and functionality. We believe that the usability of a database is as important as its capability. However, modern database systems are very difficult to use. The central goal of this project is to lay the foundations for the formal design of a presentation layer in a database system that sits above the physical and logical layers, but below the user interface. We are approaching this problem from three parallel directions.
1. Forms: Forms are perhaps the most popular way to access structured databases on the web today. We are studying the optimal creation of forms, and the algebraic support for such form creation.
2. Spreadsheets: Many non-technical users find it intuitive to manipulate data in a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel, while finding it challenging to write queries in SQL. We believe this is on account of the crucial "direct manipulation" capabilities of a spreadsheet. We are developing a presentation algebra for effective presentation of spreadsheets on databases.
3. Keyword Queries: On account of the popularity of Google, and other search engines, most people today feel comfortable issuing keyword queries, and would like to do so even against structured data. We are studying what it would take in terms of a data model to support such underspecified queries effectively.

For an overview of the issues, please download Prof. Jagadish's keynote talk at SIGMOD 2007 and the accompanying paper, or watch the video. This work has been supported by NSF grants number IIS 0741620 and IIS 1017296. Please see our web-site for database usability research for additional information.



Graduate Students



Database Research Group | Computer Science and Engineering | University of Michigan