We explain what a database is and what it is for. In addition, what types of databases exist, and some examples.
What is a database?
It is called a database, or also a data bank, a set of information belonging to the same context, systematically ordered for subsequent recovery, analysis and / or transmission. There are currently many forms of databases, ranging from a library to the vast user data sets of a telecommunications company.
The databases are the product of the human need to store information, that is, to preserve it against time and deterioration, in order to go to it later. In that sense, the appearance of electronics and computing provided the indispensable digital element for storing huge amounts of data in limited physical spaces, thanks to its conversion into electrical or magnetic signals.
The management of the databases is carried out through management systems (called DBMS for its acronym in English: Database Management Systems or Database Management Systems ), currently digital and automated, which allow tidy storage and fast information retrieval . In this technology is the very principle of computer science.
In the conformation of a database, different models and paradigms can be followed, each one endowed with characteristics, advantages and difficulties, emphasizing its organizational structure, its hierarchy, its capacity to interrelation transmission, etc. This is known as database models and allows the design and implementation of algorithms and other logical management mechanisms, depending on the specific case.
It can serve you: Information System.
Types of databases
There are different classifications of the databases, according to specific characteristics:
According to its variability . According to the data recovery and preservation processes, we can talk about:
- Static databases . Typical of business intelligence and other areas of historical analysis, they are read-only databases, from which information can be extracted, but not modify the existing one.
- Dynamic databases . Apart from the basic operations of consultation, these databases handle processes of updating, reorganization, addition and deletion of information.
According to its content . According to the nature of the information contained, they can be:
- Bibliographic They contain different reading material (books, magazines, etc.) ordered from key information such as the author, publisher, year of appearance, subject area or title of the book, among many other possibilities.
- Full text They are handled with historical or documentary texts, whose preservation must be at all levels and are considered primary sources.
- Directories Huge listings of personalized data or email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Service companies manage huge clientele directories, for example.
- Specialized Databases of hyperspecialized or technical information, based on the specific needs of a specific audience that consumes such information.
Some possible examples of databases throughout history are:
- Telephone directories Although in disuse, these bulky books used to contain thousands of telephone numbers assigned to homes, businesses and individuals, to allow the user to find the one they needed. They were cumbersome, heavy, but complete.
- Personal files All the writings of life of an author, researcher or intellectual are often preserved in a file, which is organized based on the preservation and reproduction of the originals, allowing consultation without compromising the original document.
- Public libraries The perfect example of databases, as they contain thousands or hundreds of thousands of records belonging to each book title available for your loan, either in the room or in circulation, and of which there may be more than one copy in the deposit. The librarians are responsible for designing these systems and ensuring their operation.
- Transaction logs The operations carried out with a credit card, as well as the calls made with a cell phone, or other type of daily business transactions, generate all a set of records that will be given to a company database.
- Medical history Every time we go to the doctor or to a hospital, the information regarding our health, the treatment received and other medical details is updated in a file that keeps a record of our medical history, in case in the future it is required to know specific data, such as operations or treatments received.