What is a database?
A database is a collection of data that is stored in a computer system. Databases allow their users to enter, access, and analyze their data quickly and easy. They’re such a useful tool that you see them all the time. Ever waited while a doctor’s receptionist entered your personal information into a computer, or watched a store employee use a computer to see whether an item was in stock? Then you’ve seen a database in action.
The easiest way to understand a database is to think of it as a collection of lists. Think about one of the databases we mentioned above– the database of patient information at a doctor’s office. What lists are contained in a database like that? Well, to start with, there’s a list of the customer names. Then, there’s a list of past appointments, a list with medical history for each patient, a list of contact information… and so on, and so on.
In this lesson you will learn about databases and learn how to use a program…Microsoft Access to create and maintain your own database.
There is a basic sequence of steps with Access that you need to follow in order to successfully create a database. If you try to perform these steps out of sequence, you may encounter enough difficulties to jeopardize your overall success.
The steps are:
- Create your database. You only have to do this once, after that, you can open your existing database and make the necessary changes to it.
- Create each table in the database. First you create the table, and then you create the fields (columns) that to in the table. You have to repeat this step for each table in your database. As you add each field, you must define any special field attributes, such as numeric, alpha-numeric, primary keys, field edits, table relationships, etc.
- Load the data into your table. There are a variety of ways to do this. You can key it into the table, you can import it in from an Excel spreadsheet, or use a specially designed form that you designed to enter the data.
- Create your queries. These queries will help you select specific records (rows) in your table, as well as update the data in your tables.
- Create your forms. Forms will provide a structured method to enter and maintain data in your database.
- Create your reports. Reports allow you to select, sort, print, and perform calculations on your data so you can display a report. Users can look at your reports online or in a hard copy format.
You will create a database in two different assignments. Complete the first half in assignment one where you will create tables to define the data and add data.
In the second assignment, you will ask questions of the data through queries.
There are numerous tutorials and demonstrations to assist you in this process. Do not procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do this. Good luck
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