Introduction to Databases

Learn about Access 2003 databases and understand how they work in this free lesson.

What is a relational database?

The information contained in any one table might in and of itself tell us very little. The Contact Types table, for example, provides relatively little information that stands on its own: Family, Friends, Relatives, Companies, Recruiters, and Network.

However, if you could relate this table to the Contacts table—name, address, and phone—then you could separate contacts by category. The Contact Types table becomes useful, therefore, when related to another table.

Table Relationship

Similarly, by relating the Calls table with the Contacts table, you can relate specific phone calls to specific people.

Table Relationships

The power of a relational database is twofold: Information is managed in separate tables to make maintenance easier, and data can be combined by relating different tables.