“Big ideas” drive the disciplines. In biology, the insights of Darwin generated evolutionary theory. In chemistry, Mendeleev’s vision of the organization of elements predicted subsequent discoveries. In computing, the database and associated database management systems (DBMS) are one of the “big ideas”. The database was conceptually possible prior to the development of the computer, but it was the digital computer that made the database the common tool it is today. The core idea of the database is distinguishing between the data description and the data itself. Among other things, this idea makes the Web possible and has made manageable new fields for discovery, such as modeling the human genome.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Normalization: Process of ensuring data integrity in a relational database design.
Flat File: A single table containing all data in a database.
SQL (Structured Query Language): A higher-ordered programming language for querying a relational database.
Network Data Model: A data model based upon members of sets where a member may belong to multiple sets.
Hierarchical Data Model: A data model that employs a tree structure to represent one-to-many relationships.
Database: A structured collection of data.
Relational Data Model: A data model based upon keys to uniquely identify and relate records in different tables.