About databases

About databases

The building block of a database is the record. A record is a collection of related data treated as a single entity. For example, a hockey trading card could be called a record: it brings together the name, photograph, team, and statistics of one player. Using database terms, each of these related pieces of information is called a field: each hockey card record has a name field, a photograph field, a team field, and various player statistics fields.

A collection of records that share the same fields is called a table because this kind of information can easily be presented in table format: each column represents a field and each row represents a record. In fact, the word column is synonymous with the word field, and the word row is synonymous with the word record.

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A database can contain more than one table, each with a unique name. These tables can be related or independent from one another.

A subset of data extracted from one or more tables is called a recordset (or a DataSet in ASP.NET). A recordset is also a table because it’s a collection of records that share the same columns. For example, a hockey team roster listing the names and positions of the players could be called a recordset: it consists of a subset of all the possible information about the players, including goals, assists, penalty minutes, and so on.

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To create a recordset, you run a database query. A query consists of search criteria. For example, the query can specify that only certain columns be included in the recordset, or that only certain records be included. For more information, see Understanding recordsets.

Related topics

  • Database design basics
  • Understanding database connections


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