GRAPH DB Technology vs. Relational Databases.


Relational Databases is a form of database technology that has evolved since the very early days of computing technology.  A Relational Database is a software program that is run on a computer/

What is a Database?

A database is like a local library.  Traditionally, Libraries have had two sections on premises. The first part of the Library, was the index cards.  In-order to find a book in the library, people searched for a specific book by named references – such as the title of the book, or author, or genre.  These index cards were traditionally stored in a different place to the books themselves, in-so doing, providing a means to go search for the specific book before going to through the library to locate it.  

In-context: introduction of relational Databases

Later, Computerised systems (using relational databases) indexed the records in a similar way, however adding more information about the books which in-turn improved the ‘semantics’ surrounding how a library user could find a book.  These systems were still stored onsite, and whilst the indexing system related to ‘standards’ (such as the dewi decimal system), the quality of the records relating to the books, varied from library to library, and particularly when seeking ‘non-fiction’ information, discovery was often a difficulty alongside accessibility.

In these ways, Libraries are very much like Databases.  Two areas of documents (files / systems) are developed.  The quantity of the books available at that particular location (or the discoverability of items available elsewhere); and, the quality of the indexing system available to discover what items relate to a field of interest. 


Relational Databases digitally store information within the same computer system.  In this way, the naming, architecture and design of the indexing system is particular to that system alone.  It is not compatible with other systems, and indeed if information needs to be shared then ‘bridges’ need to be built to communicate between the languages of the different indexing systems.  

Secondly; the library itself in a relational database must have files locally available. These systems incorporate all information that is required by a system, into a ‘silo’.   

Whilst this makes sense in situations where discovery of items relate specifically to resourcing physical records (such as a book, Newspaper, cartography document or VHS Tape) World Wide Web (WWW) Internet Technology provides a global platform where data can be communicated between points, across the world, reliant only on the commonality of language within documents between the source or origin of the document, and its destination. 

Storing documents, information, data – necessarily at every point of access is no-longer required.  In this way, relational databases consider the tangible world, rather than the digitally online environment and how languages CAN work for more effective communications.

Graph Database technology seizes the opportunity, and the multiplicity of beneficially defined, architectural design issues, considered throughout – over many years; has led internet technology to an opportunity of evolution that is as significant for humanity as the establishment of common-purposed internet services themselves. 


Graph Databases treat WWW as a file-systems.  Therein, entities and groups of entities create languages (index systems) for specified areas of human knowledge, such as describing people, or photos, or genetics or drugs, chemistry, botany, geography, law, copyright, financial, etc.

These index systems area available to any internet document (webpage) simply by entering the internet address of that index system; and associating a statement on the webpage, to a defined term in the index system located somewhere on WWW. 

In this way, Graph Databases provide a method to describe in any language, concepts that have ‘shared meaning’ or ‘shared value’.  Graph Databases still have a indexing system, however rather than the indexing system being used specifically for the purposes of the local system storing the webpages (like a system that only stores information in a way that is defined for one library) Graph Databases store information in a manner that is compatible with every other computer system that seeks, searches & sorts information for users in relation to the language supported by these Web-Scale indexing systems.  These indexing systems are called ‘ontologies’, and through the use of ontologies software developers across the internet are able to define ways in which people can store data or documents digitally, in a manner that can be understood by both machines on the internet (or agents) and people (legal entities).


Internet systems have traditionally had little option other than to seek an enormous amount of information from users, for which as custodians, they store for users in relation to the provision of services to those users.  Many temptations have been in-turn put upon those companies by legal-entities seeking to exploit that data, your data, in ways that you wouldn’t agree to knowingly. 

The reason why these systems HAD TO store that data on your behalf, is because the Database Technology that existed at the time; provided no other options.  Their wasn’t any such thing as a Graph Database (“GraphDB“), the implementation technology of GraphDB’s hadn’t evolved sufficiently as to be taught in universities where the people with such brilliant ideas were taught.  

Recently, this has changed.  Now, companies and individuals building products and services for online environments can allow you to store your own data; and still provide a mechanism for you to participate with their systems.  What’s better yet? Your ability to store and set permissions on how others can use your data is technically, far far better.  Like a land far-far away, your data can be reused, stored, sent, retrieved and if you want adapted to, all subject to the rules you make.

Graph Database technology allows you to create one document on a system you trust, to describe what your contact details are.  You can create an address book, consisting of ‘links’ to other-peoples documents describing their contact details; that are automagickly shared subject to the groups, permissions, and preferences each-user sets on how they want to share their information.

Search-engines can only see contact details if you set permissions to allow them to do so.  Perhaps you have specific contact details set for public access – like ‘frontdoor@mydomain.tld’

The photos you store could be made available on a group of different social-networking sites, rather than just one site.

Businesses could offer digital receipts that are stored on each customers storage service, rather than printing digital receipts.

Government can release more statistical information relating to taxation, billing and government services provided to the public.  They can use Graph Technology to ‘lower the resolution’ or data provided, so that privacy isn’t breached.  They can use Graph Technology to provide data in a way that mixes data from several different datasources or government departments; both lowering research costs for statistics information, as well as providing enormous opportunities for civic development & research capabilities throughout Education and other sectors.

Whilst some applications are simply made better with Graph Database Technology; other applications become possible, where before it was impossible…

Graph Database Technology can generally be labelled (technically) RDF.  RDF is a type of digital document that describes information in a manner that makes it compatible with Graph Databases, providing rules or records that contribute towards a graph, in a web-scale database.


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