3.8 Data modelling and databases
The subject of databases becomes very complex with deeper study. This is not so much because database software requires great skill to make it do what is needed, but because database design begins with a deep understanding and analysis of what the entities and attributes are, and the relationships between entities. This is data modelling, and very little of it has anything to do with computers; rather it is much more about studying carefully how organisations work, how information is acquired and used, who uses it and how, and so on.
Databases probably impinge on our lives more than we realise. As we have seen, they underlie many websites of any complexity, but they also underlie great swathes of the e-government project, as well as billing systems from utility companies, booking systems for holidays, personal records held by employers, banks, credit card companies, and so on. The list of applications of databases goes on and on. In addition, databases are essential components of modern telecommunications, for instance in the routing of data packets on the internet. They are also essential to electronic systems of personal identification, which is what I will look at next.