Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A hierarchical database is a kind of database management system that links records together in a tree data structure such that each record type has only one owner, e.g. an order is owned by only one customer. Hierarchical structures were widely used in the first mainframe database management systems. However, due to their restrictions, they often cannot be used to relate structures that exist in the real world.
Hierarchical relationships between different types of data can make it very easy to answer some questions, but very difficult to answer others. If one-to-many relationship is violated (e.g., a patient can have more than one physician) then the hierarchy becomes a network.
- Field - smallest unit of data
- Segment - groups of fields; nodes of the tree structure
- Data base record - a collection of related segments; a particular tree structure
- Data base - composed of database records
- Data base description - how data base records are defined; set of assembly-language macro instructions
- Root - first segment
- Sequence field - one field in each segment used to order the occurrences of a given type
Some well known hierarchical databases
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