an object, subject, idea, or thing in a database on which data and information are recorded; the subject(s) of the database.
How Data Entities Work
Also known as database entities, data entities are what databases revolve around. Generally, the reason for making a database is to contain information on some topic in an efficient, compact, and easy-to-access format. In this case, whatever that topic or subject of the database is, a company's employees or the product inventory at a shop, for example, is considered a data entity. That goes to say that without data entities, there would be no purpose of creating a database and nothing to gather data on.
On the note of gathering data, data entities work hand-in-hand with what are known as entity attributes. An entity attribute is simply the data recorded in a database about a data entity. For example, an entity attribute for the employees of a company may be their full name or the name of the department that they work in. Entity attributes can be anything from numbers to letters and even, at times, symbols.
When creating a database, it is always important to determine what information is worth recording in the first place; such is the case with data entities and, even more so, entity attributes. In the case of data entities, this careful selection of a subject may be more driven by what objects of interest prompt you to develop a database. For entity attributes, on the other hand, this may involve the tedious process of determining what pieces of data are most important and useful; this may prove difficult if large amounts of the information seem crucial, but you need a compact or smaller database. If executed properly, the combination of data entities, the subject of the database, and entity attributes, and the information recorded on these data entities create a well-rounded and sufficient database.
Example of Data Entity
As the head of a company that sells dog treats, you are looking at all of your customers. With hundreds of customers from across the world, you decide to create a database to sort them all. Your customers in this situation would be your data entities, the subjects of your database.
After you decide to create a database, you have to determine what information you want to store as data. You quickly come up with a list of data that you want to compile, including the names and addresses of your customers and the type of dog treats that they usually buy, among other things. With some more work, you refine the list and cross out some of the less important data that you could record on your customers until you have a compact and simple yet productive list of information that you should include in the database. These are your data attributes and are going to be important in the creation of your database.
There are many ways that you could go about getting the data for this particular database, such as through surveys that you send to your customers or a quick look at the information that they provided to you when they bought dog treats from your company. In more ways than one, this database could help you see patterns in how and when your customers purchase from you and give insights on how you could improve the customer experience.