James D. Anderson and José Pérez-Carballo Information Retrieval Design
“Database” is a relatively new word for a collection of data that is organized for retrieval. It is sometimes restricted to organized collections of data in electronic media, but in this book, the term “database” is used for any collection of data organized for retrieval, regardless of medium, so that printed indexes, catalogs, encyclopedias, and similar reference works constitute examples of databases as well as electronic retrieval tools on CD-ROM or available online or via the world-wide web.
The definition of “database” used in some books is simple: an organized collection of data designed for retrieval. Although the term “database” (data base, data-base), and its companion term (in earlier days) “databank,” grew out of a computer environment, it need not imply any particular medium for the database. In this sense, “database” will refer both to print databases and to electronic digital computer-based databases.