iCheck™ Series Microsoft® Office 2007 Real World Applications

Unit 3: Access 2007: Use Databases

Real World Connection Activities

These articles allow you to further explore various computing topics and include a quiz for review.

Introduction Learn about how organizations use databases in the real world.

Directions Read the information below and apply what you learn to answer the questions. Check your work carefully, and click Submit.

Why Organizations Use Databases

Most large organizations could not exist without databases, which are huge collections of data that are organized so that information can be located and retrieved quickly. Although Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool for calculating data, database applications such as Microsoft Access are more suited for storing vast amounts of records. In Access, data are stored in tables. Once the tables are created, the user can analyze thousands of records through queries, forms, and reports. A query is used to quickly locate information in one or more databases. For example, a query could be used to find all of the customers who live in a particular city, or even the address of a single customer among thousands of records. A form is a screen into which data can be entered and then stored in the database. For example, for online purchases, customers enter credit card and shipping information into a form that stores the information in the company’s database. A report presents specific data in a readable format. For example, a clothing company could create a report that only presents sales and inventory data for blue T-shirts.

Large organizations use Access databases in the following ways:

  • Payroll records, which track payments to a company’s employees. Businesses could create a query to find the bank account information of a particular employee or a report that presents the makeup of their workforce.
  • Inventory records, which keep track of how much merchandise a company has on hand. Retail companies must prevent overstocking merchandise to avoid using up too much storage space, but they also must make sure their inventory is sufficient to meet the demands of their customers. Companies can create queries and reports to check the inventory and sales figures of a particular item.
  • Customer databases, which store the personal information of a company’s customers. Retail Web sites often include a form in which customers enter their address and payment information to be stored in the company’s online database. Secure Web sites include a username and password so that hackers cannot access customer records. Companies could create a query to find a particular customer’s order or a report that presents which products have the highest sales in certain parts of the country.
  • Medical records, which track the illnesses and treatment of patients. Hospitals use patient databases to store the medical history of their patients. Hospital administrators could create reports to determine the success of certain treatments. In many cases, patient names are kept anonymous in medical reports in order to respect the patients’ right to privacy.

Assessment Questions

What is a database?
Which Access tool would you use to find information about a particular customer?
What does an Access report do?
Describe a report that a company could create about its inventory records.
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