A database in which relations between information items are explicitly specified as accessible attributes.
database in which data are viewed as a collection of linked tables. It is the most popular of the three basic database models, the others being network and hierarchical.
A database or database management system that stores information in tables—rows and columns of data—and conducts searches by using data in specified columns of one table to find additional data in another table. In a relational database, the rows of a table represent records (collections of information about separate items) and the columns represent fields (particular attributes of a record). In conducting searches, a relational database matches information from a field in one table with information in a corresponding field of another table to produce a third table that combines requested data from both tables. For example, if one table contains the fields EMPLOYEE-ID, LAST-NAME, FIRST-NAME, and HIRE-DATE, and another contains the fields DEPT, EMPLOYEE-ID, and SALARY, a relational database can match the EMPLOYEE-ID fields in the two tables to find such information as the names of all employees earning a certain salary or the departments of all employees hired after a certain date. In other words, a relational database uses matching values in two tables to relate information in one to information in the other. Microcomputer database products typically are relational databases. Compare flat-file database, inverted-list database.