Network Database


A network database is a type of database management system that organizes and stores data as interconnected records, where each record can have multiple parent and child records. This structure, known as a network model, allows more complex relationships between data entities compared to hierarchical and relational database models. Network databases were widely used in the 1960s and 1970s but have been mostly replaced by more efficient systems like relational databases.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Network Database is a type of database model which allows multiple relationships between various data nodes, making it more flexible and adaptable for complex hierarchies and linked data storage.
  2. This database model improves upon the hierarchical model by allowing many-to-many relationships between records, hence it has become the preferred choice for applications that require more advanced database schema designs.
  3. Although network databases offer high performance and adaptability, they require more effort in terms of management and maintenance, and are less popular in comparison to more modern-day alternatives like relational and NoSQL databases.


The term “Network Database” is important as it refers to a critical aspect of modern technology that significantly impacts the management and accessibility of information.

A network database is a collection of data organized in a connected, interconnected structure, enabling efficient storage, retrieval, and sharing of data across various users and applications.

This type of database often relies on a flexible schema, allowing dynamic relationships among the data entities and supporting complex data models.

By streamlining data management processes in organizations and enhancing resource-sharing capabilities, network databases play a vital role in improving collaboration, data integrity, and overall productivity.

Consequently, understanding and effectively utilizing network databases is essential for businesses, institutions, and individuals in the information-driven world.


A network database primarily serves the purpose of enabling and simplifying data retrieval and management across various interconnected systems or devices. In this type of database, data is organized in a structure where each record possesses one or more parent records, as well as having one or more child records.

This tree-like formation allows greater flexibility as it permits multiple relationships to exist between records, thereby paving the way for proficient data sharing between distinct systems within a network. Network databases are extensively employed in situations that demand managing voluminous and intricate data, as well as providing comprehensive accessibility to all the users in the network.

The utilization of network databases is paramount for diverse industries, given its capabilities to function optimally in hierarchical structures where the data’s complexity can be efficiently handled. For instance, organizations can leverage network databases to manage their clientele information, track employee workflow, and orchestrate supply chain logistics.

Moreover, the integration of complex data from numerous sources is made plausible by the network database’s ability to maintain multiple relationships, consequently boosting efficiency and avoiding redundant data entry. In essence, network databases not only play a pivotal role in optimizing businesses but also create a dynamic environment that significantly enhances data management’s proficiency and productivity.

Examples of Network Database

Airline Reservation Systems: One of the most common real-world examples of a network database is the airline reservation system. These systems store information about flights, seat availability, airline routes, and passenger information. The network database structure allows airlines to quickly access and update data, such as booking reservations, modifying flight schedules, and tracking seat availability, providing a fast and efficient system for managing reservations and adjusting to unforeseen changes.

Telecommunication Networks: Telecommunication companies also rely on network databases to manage their infrastructure and ensure smooth service delivery. Network databases are used to store detailed information about network components like switches, routers, cell towers, and coverage areas. This structure enables telecom companies to gather valuable insights about their network performance, monitor usage patterns, and optimize the capacity and efficiency of their services.

Library Management Systems: Network databases play a crucial role in many library management systems, which are used to catalog and track books, periodicals, and other resources. This type of database stores information about each item, such as its title, author, and publication details, along with its location within the library (e.g., shelf and aisle number). Network databases in library management systems also store information about borrowers, making it easier to keep track of which items are checked out, when they’re due, and any overdue fines incurred.These examples showcase how network databases are widely used to enable efficient data management and resource allocation across various industries by organizing complex, interrelated data in a flexible, accessible manner.

FAQs: Network Database

Q1: What is a network database?

A network database is a special type of database management system that stores and organizes data in records and sets. It employs a flexible “network” of relationships and links between records, allowing multiple relationships between objects and a more complex hierarchical structure than the hierarchical database model.

Q2: What are the advantages of using a network database?

Network databases offer multiple advantages, including high flexibility, the ability to manage complex relationships and large datasets, and better performance than simpler database models, such as hierarchical databases. They are particularly useful for applications that require simultaneous access by multiple users and that involve frequent changes to the data or structure.

Q3: How does a network database differ from a relational database?

A network database employs a network or graph structure to represent the relationships between records, while a relational database uses a table-based approach with rows and columns to store data. Network databases are typically more complex and offer more flexibility for representing various relationships, whereas relational databases are easier to learn, design, and maintain and provide a higher level of data integrity.

Q4: What are some common network databases?

Some of the widely-used network databases include Integrated Data Store (IDS), Integrated Database Management System (IDMS), and Rapid Application Development Environment (RADE). These systems differ in features and capabilities, but they all employ the same underlying principles of the network database model.

Q5: When should I use a network database instead of a relational database?

You should consider using a network database if your application requires a high level of data flexibility and the ability to represent multiple relationships between entities. Additionally, if your application involves large datasets and frequent updates or changes in data or structure, a network database may offer better performance and scalability than a relational database.

Related Technology Terms

  • Database Management System (DBMS)
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Network Topology
  • Client-Server Architecture
  • Data Integrity

Sources for More Information

  • Techopedia – Find detailed information about network databases and other related technology terms.
  • GeeksforGeeks – Learn fundamentals, implementation, and real-world examples of network databases and other technology concepts.
  • IBM – Access a wealth of knowledge on network databases and related technology solutions provided by industry experts.
  • Computerworld – Stay updated with the latest technology news, trends, and information on network databases and other IT topics.

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