WHAT IS DATABASE ?
A database is an organized collection of data. It is the collection of schemas, tables, queries, reports, views and other objects. The data is typically organized to model aspects of reality in a way that supports processes requiring information, such as modelling the availability of rooms in hotels in a way that supports finding a hotel with vacancies.
Database management systems (DBMS) are computer software applications that interact with the user, other applications, and the database itself to capture and analyze data. A general-purpose DBMS is designed to allow the definition, creation, querying, update, and administration of databases. Well-known DBMSs include MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and IBM DB2. A database is not generally portable across different DBMSs, but different DBMS can interoperate by using standards such as SQL and ODBC or JDBC to allow a single application to work with more than one DBMS. Database management systems are often classified according to the database model that they support; the most popular database systems since the 1980s have all supported the relational model as represented by the SQL language.[disputed discuss] Sometimes a DBMS is loosely referred to as a 'database'.
TYPES OF DATABASE
- General interest databases include information from several different subject areas and disciplines.
- Discipline-specific databases include information for several related subject areas.
- Subject-specific databases focus on providing information for one particular subject.
The Undergraduate Library's Find Articles Guide has databases listed by specific discipline/subject categories for your assistance.
General interest databases are a great place to begin research or for a general topic. These databases contain the broadest range of materials and include many different subjects and disciplines. Examples of general interest databases include:
- Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) - Identifies magazine and journals articles in most subject areas including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.
- Academic OneFile (Infotrac) - This multi-disciplinary database provides access to over 3000 journals, with links to full text for over half of the journals.
Discipline-based databases are more focused then general interest databases. These databases include materials in several related subject areas. Materials are usually only from professional/trade publications and scholarly/academic journals. If you are having trouble finding information on your topic in general interest databases, try a discipline-based database.
- Ethnic NewsWatch - Identifies full text access for 200 newspapers and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press.
- PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) - Contains information sources for government, political science, social science, and related topics.
- SocINDEX (EBSCO) - Identifies articles in all areas of sociology including anthropology, criminology, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, politics, religion, rural sociology, social psychology, and urban studies.
- Sport Discus - Scholarly and popular information on all aspects of sports, exercise, training, etc.
If you are doing in-depth research on a topic, you will want to use subject-specific databases. These databases usually only contain materials from professional/trade publications and scholarly/academic journals. Below are some examples, but a list of all available subjects can be viewed on the Online Journals and Databases page.
- ABI/INFORM - Identifies articles on business, finance, and management topics from regional, U.S. and international publications.
- CINAHL (EBSCO) - (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) - Authoritative coverage of the literature related to nursing and allied health.
- Historical Abstracts - Scholarly articles on the history of the world from 1450-present.
- PsycINFO - Identifies articles, books and dissertations in psychology and related subjects.
- Reduced data redundancy
- Reduced updating errors and increased consistency
- Greater data integrity and independence from applications programs
- Improved data access to users through use of host and query languages
- Improved data security
- Reduced data entry, storage, and retrieval costs
- Facilitated development of new applications program
- Database systems are complex, difficult, and time-consuming to design
- Substantial hardware and software start-up costs
- Damage to database affects virtually all applications programs
- Extensive conversion costs in moving form a file-based system to a database system
- Initial training required for all programmers and users