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The building block of a database is the record. A record is a collection of related data treated as a single entity. For example, a hockey trading card could be called a record: it brings together the name, photograph, team, and statistics of one player. Using database terms, each of these related pieces of information is called a field: each hockey card “record” has a name field, a photograph field, a team field, and various statistic fields.


A collection of records that share the same fields is called a table because this kind of information can easily be presented in table format: each column represents a field and each row represents a record. In fact, the word column is synonymous with the word field, and the word row is synonymous with the word record.

A database can contain more than one table, each with a unique name. These tables can be related or independent from one another.

A subset of data extracted from one or more tables is called a recordset (or a DataSet in ASP.NET). A recordset is also a table because it’s a collection of records that share the same columns. For example, a hockey team roster listing the names and positions of the players could be called a recordset: it consists of a subset of all the possible information about the players, including goals, assists, penalty minutes, and so on.