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What is Data?

There are numerous examples of data we use in our everyday lives. We can think of data as the information that we need in order to do our job, organise ourselves, or even carry out our daily activities.

Some examples of data that we use are:

  • details of the products available at the supermarket
  • our mobile phone account details
  • bills such as gas, electricity, etc
  • our DVD movie collection

However, for data to be easily useable, it needs to be organised and this is the purpose of creating and using databases. Let us take an example. For the DVD collection mentioned above, what information would we hold about each DVD? It may be as follows:

  • Title
  • Year
  • Genre (eg: comedy, drama, scifi)
  • Director
  • Runtime
  • Certificate
  • Principal actors

If we were to create a record like this for each DVD in our collection then we have, in fact, created a database.

Activity

What information does your telephone account provider need in order to create your phone bill or statement? List all the items you can think of.

Next: Database - an Explanation