Prologue: The Evolution of Computer Databases

  • Morris F. Collen
Part of the Health Informatics book series (HI)


Databases have sometimes been called data banks, since like money banks that collect, store, use, exchange, and distribute money, data banks and databases collect, store, use, exchange, and distribute data. In this book the term, data, may include a single datum, like the number, 6; or the letter, a; or the symbol +; or combinations of these such as in a collection of facts or statistics; or information stored as textual natural-language data; or analog signals like phonocardiograms, electrocardiograms; or as visual images like x-rays. In this book a database can be more than a collection of data, since it can be an aggregate of information and knowledge, where information is a collection of data, and knowledge is a collection of information. Coltri (2006) wrote that the heart and the brain of a modern information system resides in its databases; and medical databases are especially complex because of the great diversity of medical information systems with their many different activities, their variety of medical services and clinical specialties with their computer-based subsystems; and with all of these actively changing and expanding in the ever-changing health-care environment. A database-management system is required to capture and process all of these data, and to implement all of the required functions of its database (Collen and Ball 1992).


Structure Query Language Medical Information System Universal Resource Locator International Business Machine Standard Generalize Markup Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morris F. Collen
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of ResearchOaklandUSA

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