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This page is part of the old A451 specification - current syllabus here

1. Introduction


DEFINITION: A database is a persistent collection of data or information which is held together in an organised or logical way.


- How many of you have ever kept details of your friends or families birthdays in a birthday book?

- How many of you have written your friend's addresses into an address book?

- How many of you have a copy of the Yellow Pages at home?


If you have answered YES to any of these questions, then you have used a 'paper-based' database.

- Birthdays were organised in logical order of 'month'

- Addresses were stored in logical order of 'surname'

- Telephone numbers were stored in logical order of 'profession' e.g. gardener, builder, plumber.


These examples were of paper-based databases. However, when we use the term 'database' we generally think of a computerised database. For the purpose of this theory section and for your exam we are going to focus on computerised databases.