The concept of base, from the Latin basis, has multiple uses. The term can be used with reference to the support or foundation of something. A piece of information, on the other hand, is specific information, a testimony, a test or a documentation.
With these definitions we can already detail the scope of the notion of database, which is used very frequently in the field of computing. A database is known as a set of information that is organized and structured in a specific way so that its content can be treated and analyzed quickly and easily.
According to DigoPaul, the databases, therefore, present data structured according to different parameters. By arranging the information in a certain way, the user can find what they are looking for easily, unlike what would happen if all the data were mixed and without any kind of order.
In the computer field, the content of a database can be consulted using software. Suppose a journalist has a database that presents information on European footballers. If you want to find out who is the oldest footballer on the continent, you can make a query through the software and the database will automatically sort the information according to age.
If the database is not digital, on the other hand, the search for information can be more complicated. When a library compiles the information of its books in cards or paper cards that are ordered by author and initial letter of the title, whoever wants to access a piece of information will have to review several cards before finding the corresponding one.
Among the advantages of digital databases, in addition to the already mentioned query speed, we can mention the flexibility to expand them and relate the tables in a wide variety of ways. For example, if in a physical database we wanted to add a series of fields (in addition to recording the customers ‘name’ and ‘last name’, including their ‘home address’ and ’email address’), then we should take each one of the cards, write the name of the same and finally specify the data for each one.
If there was no more space on one of the cards, it would be necessary to attach another, something that would make the task even more difficult. On a computer, it is enough to add the desired number of columns once, and then simply update each record with the new data.
With regard to the relationship between the different tables, this is the point at which the power of digital databases really becomes fascinating. If we have to make a database of students of a school, for example, the simplest version would include a table with the personal information of each one, such as their first and last name, their registration date, their address and contact information.
Of course, to take advantage of the possibilities that computing offers us, we could make it much more complex. If we wanted to specify what year and division each one is currently in, as well as the data of the teachers with whom they are studying, it would not be very appropriate to include all this in the record of each student, since this would suppose a colossal work, which it should be updated every year; here the relationships between tables come into play.
If we add a table called «Groups», there we will be able to register only once the data of the teachers who are working in each class, in each division, and simply relate the table «Students» with it so that it is enough to indicate a value (such as the unique group code) to access all the details of your class. Furthermore, the specific data of the teachers should be in their own table, from which we could just take an identification number to refer to them in “Groups”.