The meaning of an entity and attribute( or table and column) should be clear and easy to understand for all stakeholders of the project, and it will improve the efficiency of development by increasing the readability of data model . Moreover, once wrong entity or attribute name is created, it is very difficult to change the name because it will impact on many programs. Even though you can change the name, you have to pay a lot of time and money. So, you cannot be too careful in the choice of the entity and attribute name, and all participant of a project, especially data model designer, have to be well informed of the standard naming rule.
I would like to introduce our naming rule for entity and attribute, and it is just an example for reference. You need to setup your own naming rule if it is not suitable for your business and situation.
Let’s take a look at the entity naming rule first. Entity name basically consist of the [sub system acronym] + [entity modifiers] + [entity type].
A system can be divided into several sub systems. You can define a suitable sub system name and its acronym like ‘HRM’ which stands for ‘Human Resource Management’ sub system. If there are so many entities in a large system, the sub system acronym will be very useful to categorize and distinguish the entities according to its sub system, and it will reduce conflicts or confusion which can be happen among similar entities of other sub systems.
Then, you need to choose modifiers among easy, concise and definite words registered in the standard words dictionary. (Refer to the article about the standard word dictionary.) There should be no special character between modifiers and each word should be separated by space. Less than 4 words are recommended as a suitable number of entity modifiers. Also you have to consider the optimal length of the attribute for the convenience of development and DBMS column length limitation. The total length of table name should be less than 30 bytes.
The role of entity type is similar to the role of attribute domain group.(Refer to the article about domain.) It categorize the character of entities to understand the meaning of the entity easily. There are some general entity types like Master & Detail, History, Sequence, Summary, Temporary, Interface, Backup and so on. But domain for attribute is mandatory item, but entity type can be optional if it is not necessary.
The next is about the naming attribute. Attribute name basically consist of the [attribute modifiers] + [domain].
The basic naming rule for an attribute modifier is almost same as entity modifier. Generally, an attribute has to be defined as detail as possible, but too long or redundant modifier should be avoided. If the meaning of the attribute is unique and clear when it is combined with its entity name, you don’t need to add additional modifier which is same with the entity name in consideration of the development convenience and limitation of column length in DBMS.