A database is a set of structured information stored in a computer system. 

Centralised databases (CDBs) are databases located, stored and maintained in a single location, which is usually a central computer. They are generally used by companies or institutions.

Distributed databases originated with the spread of the Internet, and are based on multiple computers, which may be in the same place, or distributed around the world and connected via a network. These two types of databases are distinguished by the programming language used (SQL).

Here are 3 fundamental elements of a database:

  1. Data: Data is information that is stored in the database. It can be numbers, text, images, videos and any other form of information.
  2. Tables: A database is generally organised in tables, which are two-dimensional structures similar to spreadsheets. Each table consists of rows (records) and columns (fields) representing specific data.
  3. Query: A query is a request that is made to the database to extract specific data or combinations of data according to certain criteria.

Databases can vary in size and complexity, from small personal databases to huge corporate or government systems. Database design and management are important areas of software engineering and computer science, as effective data organisation is crucial to ensure that information is accessible, up-to-date and secure.

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