IN THIS CHAPTER
In the simplest terms, a database is a collection of persistent (or related ) data. For instance, you might store information about your household goods and assets in a paper notebook. Or, you might collect personal information about your relatives and friends , such as addresses, birth dates, and so on, in an address book or day planner. Both collections are really just simplified databases. Both systems have a specific structure, and you follow a routine to store and retrieve information. Even a pile of little scraps of paper, Post-it Notes, and napkins with ideas for that great American novel you mean to write could be considered a databaseif you're willing to stretch your imagination a bit.
Most of us are satisfied with our paper notebooks , day planners, and even our little piles of notes. In the business world they can prove haphazardlose the little scrap of paper with a huge order from your company's most important client and you might find yourself in the unemployment line. Even in your personal life, losing track of things can be a severe annoyance. Was that check due this week or next week? Do you remember when the tomatoes were planted? In this chapter, we'll show you how to turn data into an effective database that works for you.