Database != Hyperlink

What is a database? This might seem trivial, but the many responses to this question that I have received clearly represent the different perspectives to which people view data and information.


When writing a paper or researching something, most writers turn to the web in order to gain access to new information. On online databases you can find information on war heroes, the personal life story of those incarcerated, documents detailing business transitions and a plethora of primary sources.


These databases are a collection of organized data allowing readers to quickly search for documents most relevant or interesting. In a computer science perspective, I see online databases as much more that a simple user interface with pictures and links to the works of certain publishers.


Most people never think about the way the information is obtained or organized in an online database. Understanding this process allows those to realize the privilege of typing in a name or title and being submerged by thousands of links. Michael Christie is a writer that goes on to express the metadata and organization of information behind a database and from this understanding one is able to draw inferences on the implications of databases outside the realms of humanities and digital information/hyperlinks.


Databases are necessary tools in the world of tech. They allow for multi-player gaming and give developers the ability to share information between devices. Google Drive, online blogging platforms, social media websites, and many different applications use databases to store information. These databases share data between computers and phones but the data they store is much different than what most people are accustom to seeing. This data is usually encrypted and holds personal information on each user and all of the user’s personal activity. Also, the biggest difference is that much of this information is out of the public eye and cannot be accessed or decoded without special access codes. All in all, it is clear that databases are far more complex and useful than most people think, and their different implications continue to impact our lives on a day to day basis.