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Data Warehouse Product Descriptions

Oracle Tips  by Burleson Consulting

The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle



As purchases are made by Guttbaum’s buyers, product description sheets are gathered from each vendor. Unfortunately, these product description forms contain vastly different information depending on the type of product. Figures 3.8 and 3.9 shows product descriptions for two sample products.

Figure 3.8 A product description for a meat product provider.

Figure 3.9 A product description for a bleach product provider.

As we can see, product descriptions vary dramatically. For example, shelf life applies to the meat but not the bleach and the products’ units of measurement differ. Also, meat products require a USDA inspection date and is graded (i.e., Grade A, choice), while bleach has no such grade scale or inspection requirement.

Now, given that each product may have many different characteristics, including units of weight and measurements, how can we develop a standard description that will work for all of Guttbaum’s products? The answer lies in the creation of a classification hierarchy, and we’ll describe this process in detail later in this chapter. However, the common details for product descriptions can be listed as follows:

product_description =


The product invoice contains all of the information necessary to describe the products being sold and their relative prices. These fields include the product description, sizes, ship to address, manufacturers location, quantity purchased, unit price, delivery date and cost. Note that the cost may vary with each purchase since prices are determined by time, quantity and other market factors.

Figure 3.10 A product invoice.

From this invoice, we can create the following data dictionary description:

product_invoice =

{ product_ID, product_name, unit, quantity, unit_price, total_price},

total_amount_due = { total_price}

Note that the line items on the invoice are defined to repeat from 1 through 20 times. Also, note that the total_amount_due is listed in the description even though it is derived from the values of the sum of total_price.

This is an excerpt from "High Performance Data Warehousing", copyright 1997.
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