Mastering Database Management

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Relational Models

Generalization and Specialization

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As mentioned above, the process of generalizing entities, where the generalized entities contain the properties of all the generalized entities, is called generalization. In generalization, a number of entities are brought together into one generalized entity based on their similar characteristics. For example, pigeon, house sparrow, crow and dove can all be generalized as Birds.


Specialization is the opposite of generalization. In specialization, a group of entities is divided into sub-groups based on their characteristics.

 Take a group ‘Person’ for example. A person has name, date of birth, gender, etc. These properties are common in all persons, human beings. But in a company, persons can be identified as employee, employer, customer, or vendor, based on what role they play in the company.