Figure 3-2. The data base contains fields, records, and files.
file: a group of related records.
record: a collection of fields relating to a single unit.
field: a meaningful item of data in a file, that is, a Social Security number.
(2) Database. The database, a general data storage system developed in
the 1960s, is at the heart of the modern management information systems. Designed to
eliminate the ills of more traditional data storage methods, it serves the needs of a
variety of users with a minimum of duplication. Data are described according to
inherent characteristics and independently of the instructions that process it in
application programs. For example, patient data for radiology might best be filed
according to type of radiographic exam. However, to make these data generally
adaptable to the needs of all departments, they would be entered in the data base
according to patient name.
c. Independent Data. A database promotes efficiency because records can be
added, changed, or deleted without changing all of the application programs that refer to
that data. The data are, thus, independent.
database: the basic data, a collection of interrelated records, structured to meet
the information needs of a wide variety of users with a minimum of duplication.