Generalization in DBMS: A Step-by-Step Guide


Database management systems (DBMS) encompass several concepts that are critical to understanding effective data storage and retrieval. One such concept is “generalization.” In this article, we will look at Generalization in DBMS, including its definition, applications, and examples.

What is Generalization in DBMS?

In DBMS, generalization simplifies a complex data structure by combining the shared characteristics of existing entities to create a new entity. It employs a bottom-up methodology, building higher-level, more generalized entities upward from lower-level classes or entities. This process elucidates the relationships between superclasses and subclasses.

Assume that “course enrolled” is an entity, and “ninjas” is another. By examining their shared characteristics, we can merge them. Given the assumption that “name” is the common attribute, we can create a new entity named “ninjadetails.” This information can be merged and kept in a new entity. 

Uses of Generalization in DBMS

  • It’s employed to raise the effectiveness of queries.
  • It supports the preservation of data consistency and integrity.
  • It’s employed to make intricate data structures simpler. It accomplishes this by using shared characteristics from various entities.
  • It permits two or more entities to inherit from one another. It is beneficial for the child entity to inherit the characteristics and actions of the parent entity.
  • Data management is made simpler with its help. The lower-level entity will be affected if we modify any common attributes in the higher-level entity. It is not necessary to manually update.
  • Reusing common attributes is beneficial. We can generalize the shared characteristics to create an entity that is similar for a different purpose.
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Characteristics of Specialization in DBMS

  • Hierarchy: Subtypes may further subdivide into other subtypes, creating a hierarchical framework.
  • Customization: Specialization enables the development of distinct subtypes with particular traits or behaviors.
  • Inheritance: Redundancy is reduced as subtypes inherit characteristics and relationships from their supertypes.
  • Mutual Exclusivity: Subtypes can exclude one another, so an entity can only belong to one subtype.
  • Overlapping: Because subtypes can overlap, an entity can be a part of more than one subtype at once.

Advantages of Generalization in DBMS

  • By identifying shared attributes, generalizing entities makes it easier to establish relationships between tables.
  • It facilitates the identification of relevant attributes and the simplification of database management structure.
  • Generalizing entities simplifies table relationships by identifying shared attributes.
  • It helps to identify relevant attributes and simplify the database management structure.
  • It takes a bottom-up methodology. Instead of focusing mostly on high-level entities, it focuses mostly on attributes within the database.
  • It facilitates the modeling and administration of intricately linked data. Because of this, it is more appropriate for use with hierarchical organizational structures and GIS (geographical information systems).


Understanding generalization in DBMS is critical for streamlining inheritance, simplifying complex data structures, and increasing data management effectiveness. Shared attributes allow relationships between entities to be streamlined through generalization, promoting hierarchical organization and enabling complex data modeling. It’s a fundamental concept that’s required for effective database management and design.


Q1. What does specialization look like?

Ans. In a database management system, specialization occurs when a general “Vehicle” entity is divided into subtypes such as “Car,” “Truck,” and “Motorcycle,” each with its own set of attributes.

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Q2. In DBMS terms, what do specialization and generalization mean?

Ans. In DBMSs, modeling techniques include specialization and generalization. While generalization organizes entities into supertypes and encourages data organization and inheritance, specialization refines entities into subtypes.

Q3. What does an ER diagram’s generalization mean?

Ans. The process of defining a superclass entity that captures shared attributes and relationships between multiple subclass entities is known as generalization in an entity-relationship (ER) diagram. It makes abstraction and hierarchy possible, making it simpler to model complex systems by allowing entities to share characteristics while keeping their individuality.

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