In a Distributed Database System (DDS), database management and transaction management are extended to a distributed environment among a plurality of local sites which each have transaction server, file server, and data storage facilities. The Materialization and Access Planning (MAP) method of a distributed query, update, or transaction is an important part of the processing of the query, update, or transaction. Materialization and access planning results in a strategy for processing a query, update, or transaction in the distributed database management system (DSDBMS). Materialization consists of selecting data copies used to process the query, update, or transaction. This step is necessary since data may be stored at more than one site (i.e., computer) on the network. Access planing consists of choosing the execution order of operations and the actual execution site of each operation. Three access planning methods are used: General (Response), General (Total) and Initial Feasible Solution (IFS). For a distributed query, General (Response) and General (Total) decrease the communication cost and increase the local processing costs as compared to the IFS.