A logical framework for view updating in indefinite databases

Luciano Caroprese, Irina Trubitsyna, Miroslaw Truszczynski, Ester Zumpano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper introduces and studies a declarative framework for updating views over indefinite databases. An indefinite database is a database with null values that are represented, following the standard database approach, by a single null constant. Typically a database is represented by a single set of facts D that model what is known to be true. This paper proposes a model of an indefinite extensional database that is more expressive with respect to the closed-world assumption (CWA) adapted for the setting of indefinite databases (Libkin, 1995, A semantics-based approach to design of query languages for partial information. In Semantics in Databases, vol. 1358 of LNCS, pp. 170-208. Springer; der Meyden, 1998, Logical approaches to incomplete information: a survey. In Logics for Databases and Information Systems, pp. 307-356. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, MA, USA). More specifically, in our model, databases are determined by two sets of facts: D representing, as usual, all facts that are true in the database, and E that is meant to represent exceptions to the 'unknown range', i.e. facts that cannot be unknown. Intuitively, unless they are explicitly implied to be true by the first set, the facts specified as exceptions are assumed false. The semantics is given by means of a two-level CWA tailored to the case of indefinite information. The paper characterizes the semantics of indefinite databases in terms of their possible worlds that are obtained by instantiating occurrences of null values by concrete constants and defines several classes of database repairs that realize view-update requests. Most notable is the class of constrained repairs. Constrained repairs change the database 'minimally'and avoid making arbitrary commitments. They narrow down the space of alternative ways to fulfill the view-update request to those that are grounded, in a certain strong sense, in the database, the view and the view-update request.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-811
Number of pages35
JournalLogic Journal of the IGPL
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Database repairs
  • Database semantics
  • Logic programming
  • Null values
  • View updating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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