In this chapter, we learned about the role that data and databases play in the context of information systems. Data is made up of small facts and information without context. If you give data context, then you have information. Knowledge is gained when information is consumed and used for decision making. A database is an organized collection of related information. Relational databases are the most widely used type of database, where data is structured into tables and all tables must be related to each other through unique identifiers. A database management system (DBMS) is a software application that is used to create and manage databases, and can take the form of a personal DBMS, used by one person, or an enterprise DBMS that can be used by multiple users. A data warehouse is a special form of database that takes data from other databases in an enterprise and organizes it for analysis. Data mining is the process of looking for patterns and relationships in large data sets. Many businesses use databases, data warehouses, and data-mining techniques in order to produce business intelligence and gain a competitive advantage.
- What is the difference between data, information, and knowledge?
- Explain in your own words how the data component relates to the hardware and software components of information systems.
- What is the difference between quantitative data and qualitative data? In what situations could the number 42 be considered qualitative data?
- What are the characteristics of a relational database?
- When would using a personal DBMS make sense?
- What is the difference between a spreadsheet and a database? List three differences between them.
- Describe what the term normalization means.
- Why is it important to define the data type of a field when designing a relational database?
- Name a database you interact with frequently. What would some of the field names be?
- What is metadata?
- Name three advantages of using a data warehouse.
- What is data mining?
- Review the design of the Student Clubs database earlier in this chapter. Reviewing the lists of data types given, what data types would you assign to each of the fields in each of the tables. What lengths would you assign to the text fields?
- Download Apache OpenOffice.org and use the database tool to open the “Student Clubs.odb” file available here. Take some time to learn how to modify the database structure and then see if you can add the required items to support the tracking of faculty advisors, as described at the end of the Normalization section in the chapter. Here is a link to the Getting Started documentation.
- Using Microsoft Access, download the database file of comprehensive baseball statistics from the website SeanLahman.com. (If you don’t have Microsoft Access, you can download an abridged version of the file here that is compatible with Apache Open Office). Review the structure of the tables included in the database. Come up with three different data-mining experiments you would like to try, and explain which fields in which tables would have to be analyzed.
- Do some original research and find two examples of data mining. Summarize each example and then write about what the two examples have in common.
- Conduct some independent research on the process of business intelligence. Using at least two scholarly or practitioner sources, write a two-page paper giving examples of how business intelligence is being used.
- Conduct some independent research on the latest technologies being used for knowledge management. Using at least two scholarly or practitioner sources, write a two-page paper giving examples of software applications or new technologies being used in this field.