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Databases - Essay Example

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Abstract In every organization that values information technology, a database is used to organize and manipulate data for ease of management. The database also helps in making decisions as it provides specific data relating to various objects in real time…
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Download file to see previous pages Stephens (2010) defines a database simply as a tool that stores data. Stephens further notes that the database gives one the opportunity to create, read, delete and update information somehow. In this sense, Stephens include filing cabinets, the brain and notebooks as databases. With regard to computer science and information technology, a database is generally defined as an organized collection of information in digital form such that a computer program can fast chose the data pieces that are desired (Connolly and Begg (2002). A database may be made for one or more purposes and may be though of as an electronic filing system. Traditionally, databases may be organized by files, records and fields. A file in this respect is a set of records, a field represents one piece of information while a record represents a complete set of fields Types of Databases Different organizations and experts categorize databases differently. Some experts categorize database types as analytic databases and operational databases. Based on functionality, databases may be categorized as hierarchical and network. According to The One Stop Website Shop (2012), two main types of databases however exist; relational and flat-file. The flat file type is generally suited to handling small amounts of information that need to should be readable to humans and editable by hand. Basically, the flat-file database consists of a set of strings stored in a single or more files. The file(s) can be parsed to retrieve the data that are stored therein as noted by Date (2003). The flat-file is favourable when the data to be stored is simple, and in the form of data values and lists. However, this type of database can be complicated if the replication of more complex data structures is involved according to The One Stop Website Shop (2012). One other disadvantage with these types of database lies in the fact that they are easy to corrupt. The relational databases have more logical structures compared to their flat-file counterpart in view of the way that information is stored. Relational databases in existence today include Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL. In the relational database, a table is used to represent actual objects, and every field acts as an attribute. As an example, a table that contains information about books could contain columns for the author, tile and ISBN. These arch details which describe the books contained in the table. Yet again, the table contains rows each of which represents anew book. The relation evident in relational databases exist in the reality that various tables can be linked to one another. The relations can be extremely complex and difficult to replicate in the flat-file type of database. In spite of its complexity, the relational database is advantageous in the sense that duplication of data is avoided if the database is properly designed. Databases Management Systems In order to access information contained in a database, one needs a database management system (DBMS). A database management system in this respect is a set of programs that enables one to enter, select and organize data contained in the database. Database management system may also be defined as a department that controls, structures and maintains a database in use (Date 2003). The DBMS permits access to one and the same database by various user application programs. Examples of DBMS include Basex, Oracle and Sedna, just to mention a few. Use and Roles ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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