You can download a compressed file that contains
- The completed ER diagram from the first course in the series.
- The case study on which the course project is based. This outlines the characteristics and data-retrieval needs of Stories on CD, Inc., a fictional mail-order company selling books on CD.
- A table comparing database terminology and the different phases of the design and creation process in which equivalent terms are used.
In the next lesson, the course material will be discussed.
Databases and database technology have a major impact on the growing use of computers.
It is fair to say that databases play a critical role in almost all areas where computers are used, including business, electronic commerce, engineering, medicine,
genetics, law, education, and bioinformatics. The word database is so commonly used that we must begin by defining what a database is. Our initial definition is quite general.
A database is a collection of related data. By data,we mean known facts that can be recorded and that have implicit meaning. For example, consider the names, telephone
numbers, and addresses of the people you know. You may have recorded this data in an indexed address book or you may have stored it on a hard drive, using a
personal computer and software such as Microsoft Access or IBM's DB2. This collection of related data with an implicit meaning is a database.
The preceding definition of database is quite general; for example, we may consider the collection of words that make up this page of text to be related data and hence to
constitute a database. However, the common use of the term database is usually more restricted.
A database has the following implicit properties:
- A database represents some aspect of the real world, sometimes called the miniworld or the universe of discourse (UoD). Changes to the miniworld are reflected in the database.
- A database is a logically coherent collection of data with some inherent meaning. For example, a random assortment of data cannot correctly be referred to as a database.
- A database is designed, built, and populated with data for a specific purpose. It has an intended group of users and some preconceived applications in which these users are interested.