MySQL supports different character sets and collations to provide functionality for users who want to create database applications in different languages.
The character set determines how MySQL stores character data. Each letter in a character string is represented internally by a numeric value, and the character set determines the character mapping of each number.
A collation is a set of rules for comparing characters in a character set—essentially, it defines the alphabetical order for a character set. For instance, the character Ö in a German character set is usually treated as OE for ordering purposes.
Collation rules can also take into account case sensitivity. You saw in Lesson 7, “String Operators and Functions,” ...