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What is a database?

A 'database' is a set of tools used by people to work with data, that is, to

  • a tool to store & organize data
  • a central version of what's happening 
  • information: forms & reports that select, organize and relate data
  • shared users as required
  • once only data entry (ideally)
  • capture tasks an unlimited time ahead 
  • use the reports as a basis for monitoring & forward planning
  • rapid checking of arrangements already in place (huge savings in time and effort in decision making)
  • availability of the information from a single source means improved data quality
  • errors, oversights, conflicts more readily identified & addressed before they impact
  • use can be improved in an ongoing way

 

Computer databases

Computer-based database management systems (dbms) have tools and devices for managing the data. 

  • Data are stored in one or more tables:

 

     

  • Hands-on access to data is through forms that enable users to view and/or edit the data:

 

    

  • Reports enable data and/or information to be extracted from the database:

 

    

  • 'Behind the scenes' particular sets of data from the whole database are selected using queries, eg, all the recent incidents that have been recorded in the database

Data into information

Computer-based databases can be really useful if properly designed and used.  Such a  database can make it easy to select and organise certain data to create 'information' that can be used in decision making, eg, one report in the Student Support Planner lists recent incidents by the students involved. At a glance, it is easy to identify those students who are not doing so well at the moment and might warrant additional support

 

 

Ivan Webb Pty Ltd 2001 onwards