Tech Terms: DBMS

A database management system (DBMS) is a collection of programs that enables you to store, modify, and extract information from a database. There are many different types of database management systems, ranging from small systems that run on personal computers to huge systems that run on mainframes.

Examples of Database Applications
The following are examples of database applications:

  • computerized library systems
  • automated teller machines
  • flight reservation systems
  • computerized parts inventory systems

DBMS Organization

From a technical standpoint, database management systems can differ widely. The terms relational, network, flat, and hierarchical all refer to the way a DBMS organizes information internally. The internal organization can affect how quickly and flexibly you can extract information.

Requests for information from a database are made in the form of a query, which is a stylized question. For example, the query:

SELECT ALL WHERE NAME = “SMITH” AND AGE > 35

requests all records in which the NAME field is SMITH and the AGE field is greater than 35. The set of rules for constructing queries is known as a query language. Different DBMSs support different query languages, although there is a semi-standardized query language called SQL (structured query language).

Sophisticated languages for managing database systems are called fourth-generation languages (or 4GLs for short).

DBMS Formats

The information from a database can be presented in a variety of formats. Most DBMSs include a report writer program that enables you to output data in the form of a report. Many DBMSs also include a graphics component that enables you to output information in the form of graphs and charts.

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