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A database is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. Data stored in databases might include facts about people, events, things or ideas. This provides information, which generates knowledge. Databases contain objects to store or reference data. The database objects we will focus on are:

    • Tables
    • Queries
    • Forms
    • Reports

Good database design is critical, and must be planned out before the database is built. One of the first steps in designing a database is to ask ‘What questions should this database be able to answer?’ The goals of the database should be to store data in a way that makes it easier to answer these questions. The database should be user friendly. Good database design means that the data should be organized in a way that eliminates duplicate records. Redundancy in the data can cause the integrity of the database to be compromised. Another principle of good database design is a focus on accuracy and consistency of the data. Since many different end users might update data in a database, care should be taken to ensure data controls are in place to ensure consistency.

When working through the projects in this chapter, it is important to pay close attention to the details. For example, spelling and naming conventions must be precise and consistent. Attention to detail is required when working with databases. Since databases are relational, there is a hierarchy that must be followed. 


If a mistake is made when creating the database foundation, it will not function properly. The mistake will need to be corrected before continuing on. If you run into a database error, it is best to re-read the previous steps in the assignment and double check your work. If you are not able to resolve the error, your instructor can help.

We will focus on relational databases. These types of databases are more robust than flat databases. The following are common DBMS, or database management systems:

Database Name Type Key Features
Microsoft Access RDMS Runs on Windows only

Part of Office 365 Professional

Many templates available

Widely used in business operations

MySQL Open Source RDMS Structured Query Language

Utilized at many large corporations such as Facebook and Google

Cloud Based

Oracle RDMS Utilizes object oriented features

Commonly used for running online transaction processing, data warehousing and mixed database workloads

Going forward, we will focus primarily on Microsoft Access. If you are using a MAC, you will need a dual boot with Windows to run Microsoft Access.

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Computer Usage and Applications Copyright © by Abigail Rusu & Maricopa Millions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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