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also spelled DATA BASE also called ELECTRONIC DATABASE any collection of data or information that is specially organized for rapid search and retrieval by a computer Databases are structured to facilitate the storage retrieval modification and deletion of data in conjunction with various data-processing operations Databases can be stored on magnetic disk or tape optical disk or some other secondary storage device A database consists of a file or a set of files The information in these files may be broken down into records each of which consists of one or more fields Fields are the basic units of data storage and each field typically contains information pertaining to one aspect or attribute of the entity described by the database Using keywords and various sorting commands users can rapidly search rearrange group and select the fields in many records to retrieve or create reports on particular aggregates of data Database records and files must be organized to allow retrieval of the information Early systems were arranged sequentially ie alphabetically numerically or chronologically the development of direct-access storage devices made possible random access to data via indexes bcomebarticleidxref00571613298400htmlQueries are the main way users retrieve database information Typically the user provides a string of characters and the computer searches the database for a corresponding sequence and provides the source materials in which those characters appear a user can request for example all records in which the contents of the field for a persons last name is the word Smith The many users of a large database must be able to manipulate the information within it quickly at any given time Moreover large business and other organizations tend to build up many independent files containing related and even overlapping data and their data-processing activities often require the linking of data from several files Several different types of database management systems have been developed to support these requirements flat hierarchical network relational and object-oriented The information in
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