We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Temporal Database?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A temporal database is like a standard database, with one large exception: it understands and logs the passing of time. For example, if someone worked at a company from 2011 to 2020, the temporal database will be able to store both dates as when the time starts, and when it ends. A standard database can only show that the employee is hired, and his or her employee information would have to be deleted when the employee leaves the company, because standard databases only understand the present. This standard was created in 1993, and implemented in 1994. All temporal databases include a valid time and transaction time integer that shows when the time happened in real life, and when the database was modified to accept the change.

Databases, in their early format, were only made to store strings of text and numbers, and they did not recognize the passage of time. This created several problems, the most obvious one being that time-based events could not be tracked from beginning to end, but only by the event’s present state. Another problem that arose from this is that if a primary key, or row name, was associated with a date, then that primary key could be used over and over, creating redundant data.

To alleviate these problems, the database community was called on to make a temporal variable that could be integrated into the database format. The temporal database was created in 1993 and implemented in 1994. With this change, databases were able to track when an event began and when it ended, which helped many businesses, government offices and schools, among others.

Two different variables were added into the temporal database schema: valid time and transaction time. Valid time is when the data entered happened in real life. For example, if someone changed his or her address, the valid time would be when the address change occurred. Transaction time is when the database recorded the event, which could be several hours or days later. The transaction time is constantly updating so database administrators can check to see how current data are.

As a result of using two variables for measuring time, there are three different temporal database types. Historical databases prioritize valid time, and rollback databases do the opposite by prioritizing transaction time. Most modern temporal databases are bi-temporal databases, or those that use valid and transaction time equally. The creation of temporal databases means administrators are able to use a wide variety of time queries to correctly ascertain time-sensitive information.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.