Syllabus Detail

  • Database terms; data, field, record, relation, atomicity 11ATAR, 12 GEN


What are Database Terms?

  • A database is a structured set of data held within a computer
  • A term is a word or phrase used to describe something or express a concept
  • A database term is simply a word used to define aspects of a database


Term: "Data"

  • In terms of computing, data can be seen as quantities, characters or symbols
  • A computer is then able to perform operations on these items known as data
  • In a database, data refers to the values of which are stored within the database structure


Term: "Field"

  • A field is the smallest unit of information that can be accessed from within a database
  • Fields can also be seen as columns, as the title of each field makes up the column's name
  • Database tables are made up of columns and rows consisting of fields that hold a value

Term: "Record or row"

  • record is a group of fields in a database that are related to one entry
  • A record can also be seen as a row
  • Remember: records (or rows) follow a horizontal path


Term: "Relation"

  • The word relation is used interchangeably with the word table
  • They both provide information about an entity in a database
  • Examples of these would be; customer, order, product,
  • It was created by E.F Codd the father of relational databases
  • It goes with tuples (rows), which have attributes (columns) to make up a relation (table). see wikipedia


Term: "Atomicity"

  • a system that allows you conduct a full transaction, or no transaction at all. 
  • this needs to happen for booking air tickets, tranferring money on the internet.
  • it is an atom metaphor, you can't divide the transaction, it all works, or it all does'nt work.
  • atomicity explained here
  • atomicity is to ensure it all works, or it doesn't work.
  • This a good thing, If you are transferring money to pay a bill or to give to someone. You don't want to be stuck halfway wondering whether it went through or not.
  • It can do this by monitoring the transaction. Read > Copy > Update.
  • If a system crashes, it ignores incomplete transactions.


For you to do

  • Place these terms in order from largest to smallest; field, entity, attribute
  • Match the interchangeable words            table, row, column, relation, tuple, attribute

Further Research

  1. Highy recommended for more about databases here
  2. View an extensive list of Database Terms from Raima here
  3. Read more about Database Terminology from here
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