Data, to any business, is an asset. How you input, retrieve and use that data can be simply a time consuming expense or make all the difference to the efficiency and cost saving of your business. On this report I consider the fundamental facts of databases and tools used to function the data inside them.
A database is a collection of processed information related to a particular subject or purpose. Let us consider an enterprise, such as Travel agents, that has a large amount of data kept for long periods of time in a computer. This data might include information about passengers, locations, flights, airlines, and personnel, for example. Typical relationships that might be represented include bookings (Which passengers have seats on which flights?) location (which passengers to which location?), and airlines (which airline to which location?). These types of data stored more or less permanently in a computer is called a database. (Ullman, 1982).
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You can think of a database as an electronic filling system. The data storage for database is accomplished by the use of one or more files. Traditional databases are organised by fields, records and files. A field is a single piece of information, such as, a person’s name or a location of university. A collection of related or similar fields is called a record. An example of a record would contain a person’s name, address, date of birth etc. And a file is a compete set of related records. For example, a telephone book is analogous to a file. It contains a list of records, each of which consists of fields: name, address and telephone number. (Wiederhold, 1977).
Database management system (DBMS)
Database management systems are programs that enable you to manage data on your computer. A computerised database management helps a user to store, change, find and present information from the database. An example of a database management system is Microsoft Access.
An Access database has several main components, Forms for data input, tables to store your data, queries to manipulate your data and reports to present the information to you. All can be specifically tailored to have the look feel and functionality you want. Although the term “Database” typically refers to a collection of related data tables, an Access database includes more than just data tables. (The Berkeley _Research, 2002).
An access database includes:
· Tables for storing data
· Queries for organising data
· Forms for interaction with data
· Reports for printing results
After information is gathered through questionnaires, interviews or other methods of gathering information they will be entered in to tables as data (processed information).
A particular database may contain an awful lot of data in the system, with such systems to find a certain information manually may be found difficult. Queries are used in a database to find the information required from the system. Query is a function, which uses unique identifiers for a data to display the information requested. For example in the government database for job seekers, a query could be used to find a particular person’s record by using his/her National Insurance number.
A database allows a user to add and amend information in the system. For this purpose a database also contains forms to interact with data on the screen. A form can be created using different toolbox’s- such as label, textbox, combo box, list boxes and so on.
The information from a database can be presented in a variety of formats. Most includes a report writer program that enables you to output data in the form of a report. Many also include a graphics component that enables you to output information in the form of graphs and charts.
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