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In a relational database, a column is a set of data values of a particular simple type, one value for each row of the database. A column may contain text values, numbers, or even pointers to files in the operating system. Some relational database systems allow columns to contain more complex data types; whole documents, images or even video clips are examples. A column can also be called an attribute.
Each row would provide a data value for each column and would then be understood as a single structured data value. For example, a database that represents company contact information might have the following columns: ID, Company Name, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, City, and Postal Code. More formally, each row can be interpreted as a relvar, composed of a set of tuples, with each tuple consisting of the relevant column and its value, for example, the tuple ('Address 1', '12345 West Example Street').
- The term "column" also has equivalent applications in other, more generic contexts. See e.g., Flat file database, Table (information).
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