What Is a Database?

by Jeffrey Ober

People have kept track of information and data in many ways. Sometimes it was by using an elaborate file system, a ledger, or even a box. As computers become more popular and less expensive, many people find it easier to store information on the computer. The most common way to store large amounts of information with a computer is by using a database.

Basics

All computer databases are made up of tables. These tables contain records and each record is made up of some number of fields.

Examples

There are thousands of different types and manufacturers of computer databases. A few common examples are Microsoft's Access, Oracle and mySql.

Costs

Some computer databases are completely free, while others cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Usage

The terminology and technology behind a database makes it hard for the inexperienced to use. However, with training, an experienced person can learn the technology and work with a database quickly and easily.

Effects

Databases are used around the world by nearly every business in the twenty-first century, including vast government databases that contain huge amounts of information about citizens.

About the Author

Jeffrey Ober is a full-time freelance writer with over 20 years of experience with computers and the computer industry, and 10 years of experience in education. He has a master's degree in information systems and is also a professional sports photographer.