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1. Introduction

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

Databases can either be paper based or computerised, although hardly anyone these days uses a paper-based database.

Computerised databases

You will come across computerised databases in every aspect of your life. Here are some examples with which you will be familiar:

  • Search engines e.g. Google, Bing
  • School electronic registers
  • Library database
  • Shop stock control system
  • DVLA - stores details of all driver licences and car registrations
  • Social media platforms: they all use a database in the background

database field

Paper based databases

(it is unlikely that you will be asked about these in the exam) The point we are trying to make that a 'database' does not always involve a computer.

Paper based databases can be as simple as a notebook which contains addresses sorted by surname.

Other paper based databases can be much larger, for example, the Yellow Pages directory. The directory is organised by business type e.g.

  • architects
  • builders
  • florists
  • plumbers

Under each category are listed all of the local builders, sorted again alphabetically e.g.

  • Bob the Builder
  • Daffy Duck's driveways
  • Mickey Mouse extensions
  • Road Runner and son.


Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: What is a database