Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #396 11/8/2017

Question: What is a database?


Databases are organized collections of data or information stored in a computer system. Data is the raw information and information is data in a format for humans to use.

You often hear of databases and you are often dealing with data from a database. The way that Amazon keeps all their items including prices, descriptions, quantities on hand, etc is in a database. Being in a database makes it easier to look information up in it.

The database has tables, rows, columns and keys. The tables are how we have split the in large groups. For instance at the college the student records database has a table that has information about students, a table with information about instructors, a table with information about classes., etc. Within each table there are rows. In the student table each row would be the information about a specific student, in the classes table the information about a specific class, et. Then there are columns in each table. The columns are the types of information. For instance in the student table there would be a column for student number, another for first name, another for last name, another for their address, another for their major, etc.

The keys are special columns that are kept in ascending or descending order that point to a specific column. Then when we go to search for some information we can search by the key that in in order in a quick format and then go directly to the record.

Databases are sometimes referred to as Big Data also where there are large databases.

The programs that run the database are database systems/software and sometime also just called database to confuse things. Some popular examples of database systems are Microsoft Access which is used for small databases and quite often for personal ones such as your address book. Others that can be very large databases are Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL. There are others also.