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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.
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Administrative staff used to dread managing large amounts of data.
A computer database can be thought of as an electronic filing system.
A hypertext is used to administer data which are similar.