Bo Sundgren – An intellectual biography – No. 6 The missing link?

My posts about professor Sundgren have been relatively long. This one will be short.

I have asked what happened with Bo’s general theory of databases after this 1974 doctoral thesis.

I think I have found part of the answer! Check out the list of references in the following paper:

Sundgren, B. (2001a). The AlfaBetaGammaTau-model: A theory of multidimensional structures of statistics. MetaNet, Voorburg, the Netherlands.

In 2000, Microsoft had already committed itself in earnest to analytical software. Yet, the only references in this paper are to Sundgren himself. As if no one else in the whole world had written anything worth mentioning about dimensional modelling – except Sundgren himself.

However, the main point with the list of references in this paper is something else. Check out the second publication on the list!

Sundgren, Bo (1975): “Theory of Data Bases”, Mason/Charter Publishers, New York 1975, ISBN 0-88405-307-5.

Wow, his proposed theory of data bases apparently became a book, the year after his doctoral thesis. And it was published in the U.S.

I wonder how that book was recieved? And if it contained any references (to others)? And if  parts of the contents were published in real academic journals?

If we keep digging we can find more interesting tit bits. My Swedish source has just found another. In a report from Statistics Sweden, from 1992, Bo does use references and bitches about himself being early!

“The Entity-Relationship mode is often ascribed to Chen (1976). However, it is a fact that similar conceptual models, originated by several European authors, had been presented and used for at least a decade before the appearance of Chen’s paper; for example; see Langefors (1966), Sundgren (1973, 1974), Durchholz and Richter (1974), Lindgreen (1974).” (see p. 4, “Some properties of statistical information”, 1992:16).

So, Chen published a paper? And Bo, he published – yes, what? A book?

(What we do find at the end of this report is a reference to a contribution by Sundgren to an edited volume from 1974, about data bases. The topic in Sundgren’s contribution was the “Conceptual Foundation of the Infological Approach”).

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