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Files, Records and Files

By definition, a database can contain one or more tables. A flat file database contains a single table. Relational databases contain two or more related tables.

 A table is organized in columns and rows, with each column identified by the type of data included, and each row representing actual data. Each row in a database table is a record, because it contains information on a single data item. A field defines the individual elements of a record. For example, fields may include item, serial number, and value. Fields, then, are table columns, whereas records are rows. Perhaps the reason the table format makes so much sense is that it is exactly the way you would most likely develop a list of records on paper as rows (records), each containing the same types of information (fields). The entire collection of records, stretching across one or more tables, is a database file.

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