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DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
In the 1950s to 1960s, the US government sponsored a lot of
computer projects, amongst which were those for the development of computer
databases. A computer database is a collection of data that is used by computer
applications and it can contain data on a wide range of subjects from product
information to patient details.
A database management system (DBMS) is the layer of software
that sits between the users and other computer software applications and the
database itself. The DBMS is used for adding, removing and updating the data
within the database.
E.F. Codd’s landmark paper – “A Relational Model of Data for
Large Shared Data Banks” in 1970 and P. Chan’s proposition for the
Entity-Relationship (ER) model for database design gave rise the foundation
blocks for Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS).
A relational database is one in which the data has been
organise into tables. Tables consist of tables and rows of data that are
grouped by the same subject. The tables are then related back to each other
when a request for data retrieval has been made by the RDBMS.
The introduction of the RDBMS was soon followed by the
adoption of SQL (Structured Query Language), pronounced ‘S-Q-L’ or ‘sequel’, as
an industry standard in the mid 1980s. SQL is the language for dealing with
relational databases and was originally developed by IBM in the early 1970S.
The language is now used to not only develop databases but to also provide its
The 1990s marked the introduction of the Object Oriented
Database Management System (OODMS) prototype (An OODBMS is a database
management system that treats and handles data as objects rather than tables).
There was also an increase in the effort to introduce development tools, such
as Oracle Developer and Visual Basic, to aid the rapid development of software
applications that targeted databases.
The 1990s also marked the beginning of an era with an
explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web and with that can an increase
in the demand for DBMS and database development tools as Internet companies
sought out effective ways to acquire and deploy information on their websites.
Databases have been used in healthcare as back as they have
been available. They form an integral part of Electronic Medical
Records (EMRs) and Health Information Systems
(HIS). The National Library of Medicine,
which contains about 90,000 bibliographic materials, developed a database in
the 1970s called MEDLARS (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System) and
its success led to the development of other health information databases such
as MEDLINE, EMBASE and
DBMS also forms an integral part of data warehousing. A data
warehouse is a repository containing aggregated information from various
sources and it is optimised fro reporting and analysis. The data is aggregated
as soon as it generated or at periodic stages and turned into high quality
information with all the inconsistencies and differences resolved. That
information can now be delivered to users at their request anytime, anywhere.
Data warehousing is now being used in healthcare to provide
clinical and financial information. Data warehouse applications also being
increasingly used in knowledge management to provide staff of healthcare
organisations with appropriate channels of intellectual capital distribution,
knowledge about the business and the industry at large, as well as sharing of
results amongst of on going work and research. Pharmaceutical companies also
use them for drug sales, marketing support and consumer information.
– Developed by Macromedia, used for making Web-based applications.
dBase - Developed by dBASE
Developed by IBM. Targets multiple platforms.
FileMaker Pro –
Developed by FileMaker Inc, a subsidiary of
Apple Computer Inc Targets multiple platforms.
– Developed by IBM. Used for data warehousing and Web applications.
Enterprise Relational Database – Developed by Computer Associates.
Multiple platform support.
Access - Access was first released in 1992. An inexpensive yet powerful
database solution for small-scale projects. Runs on the Windows platform.
Server –Originally developed by Microsoft and Sybase to run on IBM’s
OS/2 platform but after parting ways with first IBM and then Sybase, now only
supported by Microsoft.
FoxPro - Database development system used for quickly creating client,
distributed client, client/server, and Web database applications.
MySQL – Free Open Source
Software (FOSS) developed by MySQL AB in Finland.
Oracle - Developed by
Oracle in 1977. Target various platforms.
PostgreSQL – Open
source software developed in 1986 at the University of California.
Sybase – Developed by
Sybase Inc, which first developing DBMS with Microsoft on it SQL Server but
then parted ways to develop its own products.