One of the fundamental principles of the database approach is that a database allows a nonredundant, unified representation of all data managed in an organization. This is achieved only when methodologies are available to support integration across organizational and application boundaries. Methodologies for database design usually perform the design activity by separately producing several schemas, representing parts of the application, which are subsequently merged. Database schema integration is the activity of integrating the schemas of existing or proposed databases into a global, unified schema. The aim of the paper is to provide first a unifying framework for the problem of schema integration, then a comparative review of the work done thus far in this area. Such a framework, with the associated analysis of the existing approaches, provides a basis for identifying strengths and weaknesses of individual methodologies, as well as general guidelines for future improvements and extensions.