What is not a data source?

As I said in my last post – available here for those who want to remember the joviality – pretty much everything that is available via electronic means is a data source. But, let’s look at the flip side? What isn’t a data source?

A text file? Nope. We saw in our last post how it could be used as one.

An MP3 file? Nope. That’s a data source for the media players on your computer.

Some old file you found on your computer that when you open it up in Notepad looks like hieroglyphics gone wrong? That could be anything from a Word document to an actual application depending upon a number of factors. Is it a data source? Heck, yeah!

An old COBOL program written in 1973 that you thought had stopped being used 30 years ago, but actually just stopped being used in 2014? Sadly, even that can be used as a data source.

Things in the physical world that the computer cannot interface with in some form or fashion? Now, that’s probably not a data source. Yes, you read that right. Basically if it can’t be touched by a computer — it can’t be a data source. On the flip side, if it is on a computer or attached to one somehow, someway — it more than likely can be a data source.

Why is it important to know what is and what is not a data source? So that we might have some idea what we can do with them!!!!

Now what on Earth can we do with a data source?

  • Read data from it
  • Merge it with another data source
  • Update it with data from another data source
  • Insert data from another data source into it
  • Delete data from another data source from it

We’ll talk about some of these different options next time and what they really mean, in layman’s terms. So until then…

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