Felix Naumann. Data Profiling Revisited. SIGMOD Record (to appear), 2013.
Data profiling comprises a broad range of methods to efficiently analyze a given data set. In a typical scenario, which mirrors the capabilities of commercial data profiling tools, tables of a relational database are scanned to derive metadata, such as data types and value patterns, completeness and uniqueness of columns, keys and foreign keys, and occasionally functional dependencies and association rules. Individual research projects have proposed several additional profiling tasks, such as the discovery of inclusion dependencies or conditional functional dependencies. Data profiling deserves a fresh look for two reasons: First, the area itself is neither established nor defined in any principled way, despite significant research activity on individual parts in the past. Second, more and more data beyond the traditional relational databases are being created and beg to be profiled. The article proposes new research directions and challenges, including interactive and incremental profiling and profiling heterogeneous and non-relational data.