Database Glossary – S
Useful Terms For Working With Data

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S

Schema

1) The database’s metadata — the structure of an entire database, which specifies, among other things, the tables, their fields, and their domains. In some database systems, the linking or join fields are also specified as part of the schema.

2) The description of a single table. Also called a Logical Schema.

Schema, Information

The system tables, which hold the databases metadata.

Schema, Logical

See: Schema.

Scope

The formal definition of what the boundaries of the system being modeled and/or developed are and are not.

Scrubbing

The cleaning of data to remove any inconsistencies or inaccuracies.

Secondary Key

See: Key, Secondary.

Select; Selection

A query in which only some of the records in the source table appear in the output.

SEQUEL

The data sub language, created by IBM, that was SQL’s precursor. Originally an acronym for Structured English Query Language, it was shortened by it’s developers to SQL (Structured Query Language).

See also: SQL.

Server

The part of a client/server system that holds the database (the back end). The server also holds the server portion of the database management system.

Sort; Sorting

The act of putting records in a particular order.

SOUNDEX

A function that returns an alphanumeric value for a given word. Used to compare similarly sounding or similarly spelled words, it’s commonly employed for identifying duplicate
records in tables.

SQL

Pronounced “Sequel”, it stands for Structured Query Language, the standard format for commands that most database software understands. There are different dialects, since every program handles certain types of data differently, but the core commands are always the same. ODBC uses SQL as the “Lingua Franca” to transfer information between databases. Currently accepted ANSI standard is SQL-92.

Staging Area

A work area (e.g. a “working” file) where data is transitionally processed, validated, and tested to ensure that the transformed data has no errors before being copied or exported to the database warehouse or data mart.

Strategy

A systematic and elaborate plan of action.

See also: Tactics.

String

A sequence of alphanumeric characters.

Structure

The basic architecture of a table including: number of fields, their names, sequence, data
types and sizes.

Structured Query Language [SQL]

See: SQL.

Sub Query

See: Query, Sub.

Summarize; Summarizing

The data resulting from the retrieval, consolidation, and scrubbing processes must be summarized to obtain reasonable query response times.

Summary Field

See: Field, Summary.

Summary Function

See: Function, Summary.

Summary, Rolling

A form of storing archival data where the most recent data has the most details stored, and data that is older has fewer details stored.

Surrogate Key

A surrogate key in a database is a unique identifier for either an entity in the modeled world or an object in the database. The surrogate key is not derived from application data.