Almost everyone who has used a computer, laptop or even a phone would have come across the word Database. In this section, we will answer the What, Why, How, When and Which questions around the database.
A database is usually defined as an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system. Let’s understand what it means for anyone reading this definition:
‘Organized collection’: The data or information which we want to store for future reference is a collection. Here we are talking about Organized collection specifically which is necessary as we use the database so that we can retrieve information in future from the collection.
Also note here that the structured information is aliased as data. However, if you have heard of structured and unstructured data, you may find the phrase structured information a little confusing. If it does not confuse you, great! If it does, then remember, both structured and unstructured data are also (structured) information. We will deep dive in structured and unstructured data soon, so hang on.
‘Electronically stored in a computer system’: This is to emphasize the fact that the database is a software program and not something in the physical world. It is said in such a manner because we want to build applications and softwares that use databases for their short and long term storage needs.
Now, a physical collection of visiting cards or a yellow pages book are also examples of structured information and are also organized collections. Sure, we can loosely call them databases too, but of non-electronic nature.
Now that we know what a database is, let’s look into why we need to have a database. Below are some important reasons to use a database, but there would be more.