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Types of Files

Two basic types of files are used to store data.


1 The master file, which is conceptually similar to a ledger in a manual
system.
2 The transaction file, which is conceptually similar to a journal in a manual
system.

File Approach
For many years, companies created new files and programs each time an
information need arose.
This proliferation of master files created problems:
1 Often the same data was stored in two or more separate files.
2 The specific data values stored in the different files were not always
consistent.

Databases
The database approach views data as an organizational resource that
should be used by, and managed for, the entire organization, not just the
originating department or function.
Its focus is data integration and data sharing.
Integration is achieved by combining master files into larger pools of data
that can be accessed by many application programs.
Database management system (DBMS) is the program that manages and
controls access to the database.
Database system is the combination of the database, the DBMS, and the
application program that uses the database.
Database administrator (DBA) is the person responsible for the database.

Relational Databases
A data model is an abstract representation of the contents of a database.
The relational data model represents everything in the database as being
stored in the form of tables.
Technically, these tables are called relations.
Each row in a relation, called a tuple, contains data about a specific
occurrence of the type of entity represented by that table.

Logical and Physical Views of Data
A major advantage of database systems over file-oriented systems is that
the database systems separate the logical and physical view of data.
What is the logical view?
It is how the user or programmer conceptually organizes and
understands the data.
What is the physical view?
It refers to how and where the data are physically arranged and
stored on disk, tape, CD-ROM, or other media.
The DBMS controls the database so that users can access, query, or update
it without reference to how or where the data are physically stored.
Program-data independence is the separation of the logical and
physical views of data.
Schemas
A schema describes the logical structure of a database.
There are three levels of schemas:
1. Conceptual-level schema
2. External-level schema
3. Internal-level schema
The conceptual-level schema is an organization-wide view of the entire
database.
The external-level schema consists of a set of individual user views of
portions of the database, also referred to as a subschema.
The internal-level schema provides a low-level view of the database.

The Data Dictionary
The data dictionary contains information about the structure of the
database.
For each data element stored in the database, such as the customer
number, there is a corresponding record in the data dictionary describing
it.
The data dictionary is often one of the first applications of a newly
implemented database system.
What are some inputs to the data dictionary?
records of any new or deleted data elements
changes in names, descriptions, or uses of existing data elements
What are some outputs of the data dictionary?
reports useful to programmers, database designers, and users of
the information system
What are some sample reports?
lists of programs in which a data item is used
lists of all synonyms for the data elements in a particular file
DBMS Languages
Every DBMS must provide a means of performing the three basic
functions:
1 Creating the database
1 Changing the database
1 Querying the database
The sets of commands used to perform these functions are referred to as
the data definition, data manipulation, and data query languages.
DDL Language
The data definition language (DDL) is used to...
build the data dictionary.
initialize or create the database.
describe the logical views for each individual user or programmer.
specify any limitations or constraints on security imposed on
database record or fields.
DML Language
The data manipulation language (DML) is used for data maintenance.
What does it include?
updating portions of the database
inserting portions of the database
deleting portions of the database
DQL Language
The data query language (DQL) is used to interrogate the database.
The DQL retrieves, sorts, orders, and presents subsets of the database in
response to user queries.

Basic Requirements of the Relational Data Model
1. Each column in a row must be single valued.
2. Primary keys cannot be null.
3. Foreign keys, if not null, must have values that correspond to the value of a
primary key in another relation.
4. All non-key attributes in a table should describe a characteristic about the
object identified by the primary key.

Anomalies That May Occur in Non-Normalized Relational Tables
Update Anomaly: When changes (updates) to data values are not correctly
recorded.
Instead of having to update once, each record in the single table
has to be updated individually in order to avoid inconsistencies in
the database.
Insert Anomaly: There is no way to store information about one entity in
the database without it being associated with another entity
In the text, we would not be able to store information on new
customers without their being associated with transactions first!
Delete Anomaly: Unintended results arising from deleting a row of data
pertaining to one entity and resulting in the deletion of data regarding
another entity as well.
In the text, if a particular Inventory item were discontinued and
hence removed from the database table, we would lose
information on the customer associated with that inventory item
as well.

Approaches to Database Design
Normalization
Starts with the assumption that all data is initially stored in a large
non-normalized table.
This table is then decomposed using a set of normalization rules
to create a set of tables in the Third Normal Form.
Semantic Data Modeling
The database designer uses his/her knowledge about the business
structure to create a set of relational tables.

Database Systems and the Future of Accounting
Database systems have the potential to significantly alter the nature of
external reporting.
Perhaps the most significant effect of database systems will be in the way
that accounting information is used in decision making.