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Chapter 12. Database Management > Types of Databases

Types of Databases

As an administrative assistant, you'll probably most often see two basic types of databases: The file manager and the relational database. The file manager is the simpler type of database, acting much like a regular filing cabinet. You use it when you need to organize a single group of information, such as a name and address file or a telephone record. Some database management applications are mainly designed for use with file manager software.

Other programs allow you to create a more complex type of database—a relational database. This type of system relates information in one database file to information in another by tying together key fields using a link such as a customer ID number. Suppose you had two databases: a customer address database and a customer order database. These two databases are linked by one common field: a customer ID number. When you type the customer ID number into an order, the order database retrieves the name and address of a customer from the address database. Thus, you would not have to type in the customer's name and address each time you completed a new order, saving you time and energy and reducing the opportunity for mistakes.


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