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Online Database Resources

Databases are some of the most commonly used tools on the Internet and within businesses. They are the means by which people organize, locate, and analyze information pertinent to their needs, and they are often taken for granted, especially by end-users who may be entirely unaware of the complexity in database creation and management. What may surprise people, from seasoned programmers to complete beginners, is the variety of databases available and how they can be utilized to organize and apply information.

Active Database – Can react to events and conditions within and outside of the database.

Analytical Database – A database which often works from information found within a data warehouse, compiling and analyzing data and often coming to summaries based upon that information.

Cloud Database – A database that uses cloud technology in order to store information online rather than solely in hard drives and servers.

Data Warehouse – Compiles, stores, and archives information for bulk data processing. This device allows companies to keep large amounts of information in one digital location and pull from it what is needed.

Distributed Database – Will compile information from different computers and sites, allowing companies working around the world to build and maintain a database for use throughout the company.

Document-Oriented Database – Working under the assumption that all documents encode data in a standard format (i.e. XML) these databases are less rigid than standard ones and store, retrieve, and manage semi-structured data.

Embedded Database – Works without the knowledge of the end user, and does so within application software. As such, an embedded database requires little maintenance.

End-User Database – A database which allows end-users to compile information in a user-friendly way, with easy-to-understand interfaces. These typically require less code to run and offer end-users the ability to utilize the convenience and protection of a more standard database management system (DBMS).

External Database – A compilation and organization of information which is not the property of any one entity, either by a subscription or free. An example would be www.imdb.com.

Federated Database – Integrates several distinct DBMSs, creating a single DBMS which can integrate different types of DBMSs through a federated database management system (FDBMS) and incorporate them into one heterogeneous database for use throughout a company.

Graph Database – Rather than a textual or code-based DBMS, a graph database stores information through the use of graph structures.

Hypermedia Databases – The most readily-available hypermedia database in the world is none other than the Internet, which stores information in code for internet browsers to decode for the end-user. In the case of the Internet, web crawlers could be considered database indexes, organizes and optimizing the ability of the end-user to search for it.

In-memory Database – Also called main memory databases, these databases provide information at high speeds because it is not stored primarily in disk databases. To avoid data loss or corruption, these databases are typically backed up by computer data storage, but the information, usually used regularly and needed as quickly as possible, is stored and maintained on the main memory.

Knowledge Base – A certain kind of database that stores knowledge which can be held as either machine-readable or human-readable. In the first instance, the information is used in conjunction with deductive reasoning programs and artificial intelligence applications. In the second, knowledge is stored to spread information throughout an organization, supplement the efforts of a help desk, and assist in troubleshooting.

Operational Database – Usually organized by subject matter, these databases store information about company operations. The information stored on these databases is essential to the smooth operation of an organization, as such information includes payroll, company credit, and customer information.

Parallel Database – A means of increasing processing and input/output speeds by using multiple computers and disks together, or in parallel. This does not change the information retrieved, only the speed at which it is retrieved.

Real-time Database – As the name indicates, this type of database is constantly in flux, collecting, organizing, and analyzing data constantly. They are typically used in industries which react immediately to the most current information available, such as financial and medical institutions, scientists, and multi-media. A good example of this kind of database is the New York Stock Exchange.

Spatial Database – Whereas most databases store and retrieve information numerically, spatial databases do so in relation to space. One area of expertise which uses spatial databases store, retrieve, and analyze information is geography.

Temporal Database – Usually splitting data into one of three aspects, valid-time, transaction-time, and bitemporal data, this type of database will store data with consideration to the time period during which the data is true (valid-time), during which it is stored in the database (transaction-time), and a combination of the two (bitemporal data).

Unstructured Data - Sometimes referred to as unstructured information, unstructured data does not have a data model and as such does not work within relational tables. This does not mean that the data is necessarily difficult to understand, but it is usually text and context-heavy and therefore is difficult or time consuming to organize into a more easily-integrated form.


  1. What is a database? – Basic information as to what a database does, examples of it, and its various uses.

  2. What is an End-User? – A description of one of the most commonly used terms in computer terminology.

  3. Data Warehouse Design Process – There is no more important aspect of data warehouse design than knowing the data.

  4. Embedded Database System Administration – A consideration of the challenges inherent in embedded database administration.

  5. Graph Databases (PDF)– A report on the best practices for the design and application of graph databases.

  6. In-Memory (Main Memory) Databases (PDF)– An easy-to-understand overview of how main memory databases fit in with other MMDBs.

  7. Parallel Database Systems (PDF) – Information on how parallel database systems work within organizations.

  8. Large-Scale Data Analysis (PDF)– This comparison of approaches to how institutions organize and analyze information, with suggestions for future use.

  9. Keyword Search on Spatial Databases (PDF) – Because of their non-textual basis, spatial databases can be difficult to locate information in if the user does not know how to look it up.

  10. Temporal Databases (PDF)– Further information regarding time-based databases.