What Is a Database Program?

Generically speaking, a database organizes information by dividing it up into small, discrete pieces called fields. An address book might consist of name, address, and phone-number fields; a checkbook might include check number, payee, description, and amount fields. A computer can use these fields to sift quickly through huge amounts of data—to help you find a particular name or check number or to arrange a client list by ZIP code, for example.

A database arranges fields into records. A record consists of the complete collection of fields for one person, item, or entity in the database. For example, in an address-book database, each person or company has a separate record. Thus, when you want to enter address information ...

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