Topic: Database Terminologies

WEEK: 4 & 5

Database Terminologies

A database is a computer-based system used for recording, storing and retrieving data. It is an organised collection of interconnected data that can be accessed through various means. There are several key components to a database, including fields, records, files, the database itself and keys.

  1. Fields: These are the basic units of data entry in a record, and are defined by their name, options, validation, auto entry and storage settings. Fields allow for the entry and storage of different types of data within a record and can be customised to fit specific needs.
  2. Records: These are entries in a database, which can contain one or more values. Records are typically grouped together in tables, which define what types of data each record may contain. Databases can contain multiple tables, each with multiple records. Records are commonly referred to as “rows,” as each new record creates a new row in the table. Fields within a table are often referred to as “columns,” as they are the same for each record in the table.
  3. Files: These are the containers for data within a database, often stored in tables with fields and data values. The data is organised according to a specific model structure, most commonly the relational model. Files can be created using database software like Microsoft Access or FileMaker Pro.
  4. Database: A database is a collection of data organised in a way that a computer program can quickly retrieve specific pieces of data. It can be thought of as an electronic filing system that allows for easy access to stored information.
  5. Keys: These are fields used to sort data within a database. Keys help ensure that each record in a table can be uniquely identified and they help enforce data integrity and identify relationships between tables. There are three main types of keys – candidate keys, primary keys and foreign keys – each with a specific function. Additionally, there is an alternative or secondary key that can be used as a backup to the primary key.

Forms of Database

  1. A Database Management System (DBMS) is a software package that enables the creation, maintenance, and use of a database. It is comprised of a collection of interrelated files and a set of programs that allow users to access and modify data within the database. The DBMS provides a convenient and efficient way to store, retrieve, and modify information.
  2. When an application program needs to access or modify data within the database, it makes a request to the DBMS. This allows the DBMS to act as a layer of abstraction between the application program and the file system, shielding the program from the complexities of interacting with the underlying files.
  3. To interact with the DBMS, users typically use a query language called Structured Query Language (SQL). This language allows users to issue commands to the DBMS, such as retrieving data from the database, modifying existing data, or inserting new data.

There are two main forms of database systems: relational and non-relational. Relational databases organize data into tables, while non-relational databases use a variety of structures to organize data. Both types of databases have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them often depends on the specific needs and requirements of the application.

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