Data and Databases

This chapter covers the concepts of data and databases. Businesses are becoming more and more "data-driven"; understanding how data is collected, stored, and managed is essential for anyone wanting to succeed in business. Pay special attention to the sections on data warehouses and data mining, as they provide examples of how companies use data strategically.

Sidebar: What Is Metadata?

The term metadata can be understood as "data about data". Examples of metadata of database are:

  • number of records
  • data type of field
  • size of field
  • description of field
  • default value of field
  • rules of use.

When a database is being designed, a "data dictionary" is created to hold the metadata, defining the fields and structure of the database.