Databases and Information Retrieval

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
28 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC GH56 Information and Communication Technology,
BSC GH5P Information and Communication Technology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC I102 Information and Communication Technology (Including Placement Year),
BSC I1G3 Data Science and Analytics,
BSC I1G3CE Data Science and Analytics,
BSC I1GB Data Science and Analytics (Including Placement Year),
BSC I1GBCE Data Science and Analytics (Including Placement Year),
BSC I1GC Data Science and Analytics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC I1GF Data Science and Analytics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module extends the principles of SQL database modelling laid down in the first year. It introduces the concept of NoSQL databases and compares the strengths and weaknesses of all three approaches (SQL, IR and NoSQL paradigms)

Module aims

The aims of this module are to extend the principles of SQL database modelling and normalisation laid down in the first year, to describe the field of Information Retrieval, to introduce the concept of NoSQL databases and hence to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Understand SQL database modelling and normalisation;
2. Appreciate the principles of Information Retrieval;
3. Apply and evaluate IR in a practical context;
4. Discuss differences between models such as SQL, IR and NoSQL.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

SQL Database Design Principles

Entity Relationship Modelling


Modelling in a Realistic Scenario

Principles of Information Retrieval

Term Weighting Models

Word Frequency, Stemming and Stoplists

Inverted Indexing, TF*IDF and OKAPI

Implementation of Phrase and Wildcard Searches

Performance Evaluation in a Practical Task

Introduction to NoSQL Databases

Comparison of SQL, IR and NoSQL paradigms

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, Labs and Classes


  • Manning, Christopher D.; Raghavan, Prabhakar; Schütze, Hinrich. (2008) Introduction to information retrieval, New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Connolly, Thomas M.; Begg, Carolyn E. (©2015) Database systems: a practical approach to design, implementation and management, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Progress Test - Lab, Week 8 33.33%
Coursework Assignment 1 - Scenario Modelling and Database Implementation 28/10/2019 33.33%
Coursework Assignment 2 - Information Retrieval Evaluation 13/01/2020 33.34%
Exam 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Nicos Angelopoulos, Dr Renato Amorim
CSEE School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Dr Jeremy Ian Hiller Gow
Goldsmiths College
Available via Moodle
Of 44 hours, 28 (63.6%) hours available to students:
16 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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