Schema Vacuuming in Temporal Databases
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Temporal databases facilitate the support of historical information by providing functions for indicating the intervals during which a tuple was applicable (along one or more temporal dimensions). Because data are never deleted, only superceded, temporal databases are inherently append-only resulting, over time, in a large historical sequence of database states. Data vacuuming in temporal databases allows for this sequence to be shortened by strategically, and irrevocably, deleting obsolete data. Schema versioning allows users to maintain a history of database schemata without compromising the semantics of the data or the ability to view data through historical schemata. While the techniques required for data vacuuming in temporal databases have been relatively well covered, the associated area of vacuuming schemata has received less attention. This paper discusses this issue and proposes a mechanism that fits well with existing methods for data vacuuming and schema versioning.