Database Vocabulary Terms Vicki McKenzie DATABASE Often abbreviated DB. A collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data. You can think of a it as an electronic filing system. Traditional they are organized by fields, records, and files. A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields; and a file is a collection of records. For example, a telephone book is analogous to a file. It contains a list of records, each of which consists of three fields: name, address, and telephone number. FIELD(S) A space allocated for a particular item of information. A tax form, for example, contains a number of these: one for your name, one for your Social Security number, one for your income, and so on. In database systems, these are the smallest units of information you can access. Most of these have certain attributes associated with them. For example, some fields are numeric whereas others are textual, some are long, while others are short. In addition, every one of these has a name. RECORD(S) In database management systems, a complete set of information. They are composed of fields, each of which contains one item of information. A set of these constitutes a file. For example, a personnel file might contain a set of these that have three fields: a name field, an address field, and a phone number field. DATA ENTRY The process of entering data into a computerized database or spreadsheet. It can be performed by an individual typing at a keyboard or by a machine entering data electronically. LIST To display data in an ordered format. Any ordered set of data. SORT A term used to describe the process of organizing data in a particular order allowing for information to be found easier. For example, names and contact information may be organized in alphabetical order to allow the person looking for a name to quickly see if it is available. ASCENDING/ ALPHABETICAL / NUMERICAL An order of information from lowest to highest, such as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 OR A,B,C,D,E,F. . . DESCENDING An order of information from highest to lowest, such as 10, 9, 8. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 OR Z,Y, X, W, V, U. . . KEYWORD In text editing and database management systems, this is an index entry that identifies a specific record or document. A word used by a search engine in its search for relevant Web pages. SEARCH/ FILTER/ QUERY A pattern through which data is passed. Only data that matches the pattern is allowed to pass through the this action. To make a request for information from a database. DATABASE SEARCH STRATEGY A request for information from a database. There are three general methods for posing filters (queries): Choosing parameters from a menu: In this method, the database system presents a list of parameters from which you can choose. This is perhaps the easiest way to pose a filter (query) because the menus guide you, but it is also the least flexible. Query by example (QBE): In this method, the system presents a blank record and lets you specify the fields and values that define the filter (query). OPERATIONS Comparison: <, >,=, < >,<=, >=, is empty, is not empty. REPORTS A formatted and organized presentation of data. Most database management systems include a writer that enables you to design and generate these. LAYOUT In database management systems, this refers to the way information is displayed. You can change this by selecting different fields. FORMAT A specific pre-established arrangement or organization of data. Data in a file is stored in this way and is established by whatever application created the file (i.e., organized the data) and typically needs to be read by the same or similar program that can interpret the this and present the data to the user on the computer screen. CRITERIA This allows you to specify filtering (query) options — such as which data columns to display, how to order the results, and what rows to select — by entering your choices into a spreadsheet-like grid. ONE CRITERION You can specify the data rows that appear in your filter (query) by specifying search conditions. You must specify search conditions using an expression. Most commonly the expression consists of an operator and a search value. OPERATORS: =, <, >, etc. For example, to find all the counties that have at least 5,000 people, you would use a comparison of > (greater than). MULTIPLE CRITERION You can specify the data rows that appear in your filter (query) by specifying search conditions. This will have more than one condition and utilize more than one field. You will use operators and connectors. OPERATORS: =, <, >, etc. CONNECTORS: AND, OR For example, to find all the animals that have : HEART CHAMBERS >(greater than) 3,AND, SIZE(IN.) = (equal to) 96 CITE SOURCES The ethics of research demand that writers be credited for their work and their writing. Not to do so is to plagiarize, to intentionally or unintentionally appropriate the ideas, language, or work of another without sufficient acknowledgement that such material is not one's own. RELATIONAL DATABASE A type of database management system that stores data in the form of related tables. These are powerful because they require few assumptions about how data is related or how it will be extracted from the database. As a result, the same database can be viewed in many different ways.