What Does Record Mean?

In relational databases, a record is a group of related data held within the same structure. More specifically, a record is a grouping of fields within a table that reference one particular object. The term record is frequently used synonymously with row.


For example, a customer record may include items, such as first name, physical address, email address, date of birth and gender.

A record is also known as a tuple.

Techopedia Explains Record

Tables contain columns and rows that, to simplify, are similar in structure to Microsoft Excel. Relational tables have a very similar but more complex structure, as each table column represents a certain table property.

Let’s say there is a table named CUSTOMER_MASTER, which stores basic customer data. It might contain a CUSTOMER_SURNAME column, which is used to store customer surnames. This column may have certain parameters, e.g., each surname must be 30 characters or less and only comprised of alphabetical characters. Thus, each customer surname added to the CUSTOMER_MASTER table must meet these parameters.

However, each complete customer row or record also includes other items, such as first name, physical address, email address, date of birth and gender, etc. Each item is categorized into its designated corresponding column. Thus, each customer row or record is one horizontal line of data that holds a collection of items.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…