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Joe Celko's Trees and Hierarchies in SQL for Smarties, 2nd Edition by Joe Celko

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Chapter 11. Hierarchical Encoding Schemes
A hierarchy is a useful concept for classifying data as well as retrieving them. The encoding schemes used to represent data are often hierarchical. Tree structures are a natural way to model encoding schemes that have a natural hierarchy. They organize data for searching and reporting along that natural hierarchy and make it very easy for a human being to understand. But what do you use for this natural organizational principle? Physical, temporal, or procedural options often exist, but many hierarchical encoding schemes are more circumstantial, traditional, and just plain arbitrary.
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