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:
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.
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).
Example: 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.
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.)
Example: There are several teachers listed in the Teacher table. Each teacher is assigned a teacher ID, name, and room number.
Record: A record is made up of several fields. A record includes all of the data for a specific item or individual.
Example: 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.
Example: Mrs. Brown's name is Brown. Brown is contained in a field.
Go to the next page to view a graphic representation of the Great Lake Elementary School database.
Query: This is data resulting from questions you ask of one or more tables.
Example: Include a list of the female students in Mr. Emerson's class.
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.
Example: 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.
Report: This presents data—stored in tables—in a formatted, organized summary suitable for printing.
Example: A teacher wants to produce a student phone list.
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?
Here is your assignment:
The last step above—looking at the information to be categorized—is the first step toward designing a database.