© Copyright 2000 State University of New York & Ulster County Community College
A database is a computerized collection of information that is arranged in a manner which makes it easy to retrieve information. To create a database, you need a database program which is designed to manipulate lists of facts. Database programs may also be called information retrieval systems. Let's look at some examples.
What is a Database?
You have 45 minutes to prepare dinner for your girlfriend and her mother, who unexpectedly announced they were coming for dinner. In addition to the time pressure, you must make a healthy dinner as your girlfriend is a nutrition major! You look in your refrigerator and see that you have frozen chicken breasts and some lettuce. You look in your pantry and find some marmalade, peanuts and dried apricots. What will you do? You run to the recipe file that your mother gave you when you went to college and are horrified to see all of her 365 chicken recipes! There is no time to look through them all. It is definitely time to panic, or call for a low-fat pizza.
Now let us suppose that instead of a recipe card file, your mother entered all her recipes into your computer. For each recipe she entered the ingredients, preparation time, cooking time, nutrition information, and suggested side dishes. The format looked something like this:
Chicken A L'Orange
Ingredients: four whole chicken breasts, one 8 ounce jar of marmalade, 4 ounces of orange juice and 1/4 cup pecans Preparation Time in Minutes: 5 Cooking Time in Minutes: 30 Calories: 180 Grams of Fat: 5 Milligrams of Sodium: 300 Suggested Side Dishes: plain white rice, fresh or frozen broccoli, tossed green salad Instructions: Remove skin from chicken breasts and trim the fat. Lay on lined (with silver foil) roasting panů.
Your mother has created a database for you. The database consists of recipes that can be searched in a variety of ways.