Reading: Databases

Read the text and mark the sentences TRUE or FALSE.

Long gone are the days when storing and organizing files was the bane of all administrative staff. Today, computers relieve them of their work, processing gargantuan amounts of data at a much greater pace. Organizing information into databases facilitates this process.

A database (DB) is a collection of data arranged so as to enable a computer program to instantaneously retrieve required bits of information. The simplest way to understand a database is to imagine it as an electronic filing system.

Conventional databases are organized into fields, records and files. A single unit of information forms a field, a complete group of fields is known as a record, while a collection of records forms a file. You can think of a telephone directory as a file. It comprises a list of records in the form of people, while each record consists of fields such as names, addresses and phone numbers.

A database can also be designed in an alternative way, i.e. as a hypertext. In this kind of database any item, such as a passage of text, a picture or a movie, can be linked to another item – this way large quantities of disparate data can be administered.

In order to retrieve information from a database, users need a database management system (DBMS). It is a computer program which allows them to access, manage and select information in a database. There are various types of DBMSs, ranging from small systems for PCs to large, complicated ones which run on mainframes.