Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Database Systems

pp 714-719

Database Management System

  • Pat HellandAffiliated withMicrosoft Corporation




A database management system is a software-based system to provide application access to data in a controlled and managed fashion. By allowing separate definition of the structure of the data, the database management system frees the application from many of the onerous details in the care and feeding of its data.

Historical Background

The first general purpose database systems emerged in the 1960s and represented their data in the network data model which presumes that portions of the data (typically called records) would explicitly reference any related data items in a graph (or network). The model was standardized as the CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Languages) model and remained a strong influence on database systems into the 1980s.

In the late 1960s, the hierarchical data model emerged as exemplified by IBM’s IMS (Information Management System). In the hierarchical data model, data was oriented in a hierarchy and the ...

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