What is a database? When do I need one?
A database is a collection of information that is organized so that it can be easily accessed, updated and managed.
Databases are used in all sorts of ways in all sorts of places.
TV Licensing, Tesco Clubcards, bank accounts and online shopping are all examples of databases in action. Search engines are really just big databases with innovative ways of collecting and accessing the information. In most cases, a well maintained database, containing meaningful information that is fit for purpose is absolutely critical and integral to the businesses involved.
It is quite common for one collection of information to be related to another in a predictable way suggesting that a relational database would be suitable.
If you have a list or a spreadsheet full of information and you find that some items are often repeated and that it is getting more laborious to search through and organise in meaningful ways then the time has come to consider switching to storing that information in a database.