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In recent years many engineering organizations have come to the conclusion that a centralized data base, containing all of their design/manufacturing data, is the most cost effective solution to their needs. Increasing numbers of the designers of these central data bases are utilizing commercially available DBMS packages to implement their systems. There are many good reasons for using an "off the shelf" system, but the results often do not live up to the expectations. This paper attempts to explain why this is so, and to identify features which should be in an Engineering Data Base Management System, but which are not available in commercial DBMS packages at the present time.