Database Histories

Steve Anderson, in his book ‘Technologies of History’, defines ‘database histories’ as “histories comprised of not narratives that describe an experience of the past but rather collections of infinitely retrievable fragments, situated within categories and organized according to predetermined associations. These collections in turn offer users, […], both materials and structures by which the past may be conceived as fundamentally mutable and reconfigurable”.

In fact, database history is an infinite sequence of database states. History starts at some time, meaning the first element of history is the initial state of a database history, and extends either to a finite state or infinitely to the future.

In conclusion, database histories are just a concept used to define the semantics of inquiries and are offering the users a method to revise and reinterpret history.


ANDERSON, Steven F., Technologies of History. Visual Media and the Eccentricity of the Past, Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press, 2011.

BUXTON, Stephen, and alii., Database Design. Know it all, Amsterdam – Boston – Heidelberg – London – New York – Oxford – Paris – San Diego – San Francisco – Singapore – Sydney – Tokyo: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2009.

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