Relational Database: Model & Example

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  • 0:04 What Is a Relational Database?
  • 0:32 Relational Database Uses
  • 1:39 Relational Database Functions
  • 2:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

Relational databases help make up some of the most common uses of computers that we have. In this lesson, we'll see what relational databases are and how they are used and structured.

What Is a Relational Database?

Databases can have plenty of tables, and very often those tables have redundant information. Wouldn't it make sense, both in terms of time saved and errors avoided, if we could avoid some of that redundancy? Luckily, that's exactly what a relational database does. A relational database allows records from one table to link to related records on different tables. Think of it as a giant spider web. In this lesson, we'll look at uses of a relational database as well as seeing how one works.

Relational Database Uses

In 2004, the face of the Internet changed forever. In that year, Facebook was invented. Gone were the days where only the really savvy could have websites about themselves online. From this point on, social media would be a whole new world, ranging from mechanisms to report on tragedies to the home of cat memes. However, at its core, Facebook is a relational database. After all, you fill out information about yourself and then can connect to others via shared interests or relationships. As you might imagine, relational databases have plenty of uses beyond the world of social media.

While there's no way of knowing for sure that they do this, it would only make sense for the U.S. government to use a relational database for its intelligence gathering mission. After all, different tables can be obscured from view from those who don't need to see them. This way, spies in foreign countries can list information in their country tables, while not being able to see what's going on in different countries. Meanwhile, expert analysts back in the States are assigned one or two fields of interest and can only query in those parameters. Using a relational database, the data doesn't have to be reentered, meaning that fewer eyes see all the secrets.

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