Characteristics of the Database Approach

Characteristics of a database

Several characteristics distinguish the database approach from the file-based system. These include:

1. Self-describing nature of a database system

A database system is self-describing because it not only contains the database itself, but also the meta-data which defines and describes the data and relationships between tables in the database. This information is stored in a catalog by the DBMS software. The separation of data and information about the data makes the database system different from the traditional file-based system in which the data definition is part of the application programs.

Let’s consider the university database example in the previous lesson. The DBMS catalog will store the definitions of all the tables in that database. The figure below shows part of the database catalog:

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