A database is the basic electronic information storage unit. It is a collection of information organized to provide efficient retrieval. The collected information could be in any number formats (electronic, printed, graphic, video, audio among other. There are physical and electronic databases. A database however could be as simple as alphabetical arrangements of names in an address book or as complex as a database that provides information in a combined format.
A computerized database is a container of objects. Databases are designed to offer an organized mechanism for storing, managing and retrieving the said information. They do so by use of tables. For example the spreadsheet in Microsoft stores data in a tabular form, still in SQL, another example of database information is store in tabular from. These tables are contained of columns and rows with each column containing different types of attributes and each row corresponds to a single record. However databases are much more powerful than spreadsheet in the way that you can manipulate data.
For example there are several tasks that would be easily accomplished in a database and would be difficult if not impossible to accomplish it using the spreadsheet. One, you can retrieve all records that match certain criteria, you can also update records in bulk, you can also cross reference records in different tables and also you can perform complex aggregate calculations. To add onto those you can also correlate information from multiple tables in a database by creating foreign key relationships between the tables.
Similarly using spreadsheet you can as well add new data to a database, for example a new item in an inventory, edit existing data in the database, such as changing the current location of an item, you can also delete information, if in case the item is sold or has become obsolete, similarly you can organize and view the data in different ways for example using paragraphs and charts. Also, you can share the data with others via reports, email messages, through the internet and intranets.
In databases you will come across queries as parts and functions of databases. They are the real workhorses in a database, and can perform many different functions. Their most common function is to retrieve specific data from the tables. The data you want to see is usually spread across several tables and it would prove to be a hectic task to search for a single type of element in the whole database manually. Thus queries will allow you to view it in a single datasheet, if you don't want to see all records at once; queries will provide an option of filtering the data down just to the respond you want. Queries often serve as the record source for forms and reports.
Queries will come in two types, select queries and action queries. A select query simply retrieves the data and makes it available for use, either to print, view or copy to clipboard. An action query will perform a task with the data, either to create new tables, add data into existing tables, update tables or even delete information.
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