Access 2000: Database Terms

Lesson 2: Database Terms



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Discuss basic database concepts
  • Discuss basic database terms

What is a database?

A database is a collection of information organized and presented to serve a specific purpose. Database programs are created using a program like Microsoft Access 2000.

An Access database is made up of several components, including:

  • Tables
  • Forms
  • Queries
  • Reports

These components are called database objects. One or more of these objects are formed when a database is created. These components are stored in a single database file.

Database Structure

Database terms

Data: This is information such as numbers, text, date and time, and currency.

Database: A database is a collection of an organization's data that is organized into one or more tables. Access lets you organize information in separate manageable units. Linked—or related—tables allow you to extract information based on certain criteria. Tables are linked by a common column (key).

lesson arrowExample: The Great Lake Elementary School Database stores information (data) necessary for operating an elementary school. This information may include but is not limited to teacher information and student information.

Great Lake database example

Database terms: Tables, records, and fields

Table: A table is made up of several records. A table contains data that describes one thing or individual. In a table, data is arranged in columns and rows in an essentially rectangular shape. (A spreadsheet, for example, looks like a table.)

lesson arrowExample: There are several teachers listed in the Teacher table. Each teacher is assigned a teacher ID, name, and room number.

Great Lake Elementary database - Teacher table

Record: A record is made up of several fields. A record includes all of the data for a specific item or individual.

lesson arrowExample: All of the data for a particular teacher is a record.


Fields: A field, located at the intersection of a row and column, is a space allocated for a particular piece of information.

lesson arrowExample: Mrs. Brown's name is Brown. Brown is contained in a field.


Important pointGo to the next page to view a graphic representation of the Great Lake Elementary School database.

The Great Lake Elementary School database

Great Lake Elementary School database

Database terms: Queries and forms

Query: This is data resulting from questions you ask of one or more tables.

lesson arrowExample: Include a list of the female students in Mr. Emerson's class.

students in Mr. Emerson's class - table

females in Mr. Emerson's class - query result

Form: A form is a graphical user interface (GUI) used to enter—and view—data. Forms usually display one record at a time and contain blank fields, allowing for easy data entry.

lesson arrowExample: A new student arrives at Great Lake Elementary School. Using a form, the administrative assistant enters the student's information into the Great Lake Elementary School database. The new data is now stored in the database.

new student form

Database terms

Report: This presents data—stored in tables—in a formatted, organized summary suitable for printing.

lesson arrowExample: A teacher wants to produce a student phone list.

students in Mr. Emerson's class - table


The best way to understand databases is to learn how to view the world and the things in it, and then to think of structures that best serve to organize this information.

For example, think of your music collection in terms of a database. The database might be called music collection. What tables might be in this database?

  • Do you have both CDs and tapes, or just tapes? Could this media type be an example?
  • Do you listen to different styles of music? Could music style be a table?
  • Do you listen to different musical artists? Could musical artists be a table?
  • Do you have more than one recording for any artist? Could specific recordings be a table?

Here is your assignment:

  • Using the questions above, outline a structure using those questions for which you answered "yes" (or any other questions that you might think of).
  • List at least five items from your collection that could go into each category created in the first step. If your music collection is not large enough to list five items in each category, think of artists you know about and use this information as if you owned it.
  • After completing the second step, the database has some information defined to it. What report might you want to print that tells you about some part of the information in the database?

The last step above—looking at the information to be categorized—is the first step toward designing a database.