9.2 Information Systems and Databases

In 30 seconds...

This section talks about the many things students learn about and things they must learn to do, to complete this course.  The outcomes are listed, and all things learnt throughout the course are listed in detail.
Information systems are computer systems that support end users, giving them access to the information. For a large number of information systems, the data is held in databases and access is via database management systems. Information systems perform a variety of tasks and these are considered in the following topics in the HSC course. While all of the information processes are represented in information systems, the emphasis in this topic is on the processes of organising, storing and retrieving with database systems and hypermedia.

A student:

H1.1 applies and explains an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation
H1.2 explains and justifies the way in which information systems relate to information processes in a specific context
H2.1 analyses and describes a system in terms of the information processes involved H2.2 develops and explains solutions for an identified need which address all of the information processes
H3.1 evaluates and discusses the effect of information systems on the individual, society and the environment
H3.2 demonstrates and explains ethical practice in the use of information systems, technologies and processes
H4.1 proposes and justifies ways in which information systems will meet emerging needs H5.1 justifies the selection and use of appropriate resources and tools to effectively develop and manage projects
H5.2 assesses the ethical implications of selecting and using specific resources and tools, recommends and justifies the choices
H6.1 analyses situations, identifies needs, proposes and then develops solutions
H6.2 selects, justifies and applies methodical approaches to planning, designing or implementing solutions
H7.1 implements and explains effective management techniques
H7.2 uses methods to thoroughly document the development of individual and team projects.

Additional outcomes relating to project work have been included in this topic to allow project work to be assessed as an integral part of this topic. Note: If teachers choose not to undertake a project as part of this topic then these outcomes would not be assessed here. These additional outcomes now appear in all HSC core topics and all HSC option topics.

Information Processes and Technology Stage 6 Syllabus

Students learn about:

Students learn to:


Information systems

  • the characteristics of an information system, namely:

-the organisation of data into information

-the analysing of information to give knowledge

  • the different types of and purposes for information systems, including systems used to:

-process transactions

-provide users with information about an organisation

-help decision-making

-manage information used within an organisation



Database information (This subheading has been reworded.)


  • school databases holding information on teachers, subjects, classrooms and students
  • the Roads and Traffic Authority holding information on automobiles and holders of drivers licences
  • video stores holding information on borrowers and videos



·        non-computer methods of organising including:

-telephone books

-card based applications

·        computer based methods of organising, including:

-flat-file systems

-database management systems


·        the advantages and disadvantages of computer based and non-computer based organisation methods

·        the logical organisation of flat-file databases, including:



-fields, key fields


·        the logical organisation of relational databases, including:

-schemas as consisting of:




          -one to one

          -one to many

          -many to many

-tables as the implementation of entities consisting of:



-linking tables using primary and foreign keys

-user views for different purposes

·        data modelling tools for organising databases, including:

-data dictionaries to describe the characteristics of data including:

     -field name

           -data type

           -data format

           -field size



     -schematic diagrams that show the relationships between entities

     -normalising data to reduce data redundancy

·                    the logical organisation of hypermedia,


-nodes and links

-uniform resource locators

-metadata such as HTML tags

·                    tools for organising hypermedia,


-storyboards to represent data

organised using hyperlinks

-software that allows text, graphics

and sounds to be hyperlinked



Storage and retrieval

·  database management systems (DBMS) including:

-the role of a DBMS in handling

access to a database

-the independence of data from the


·  direct and sequential access of data Minor rewording of dot points on this page has taken place to provide clarity.

·  on-line and off-line storage

·  centralised and distributed databases

·  storage media including:

-hard discs


-cartridge and tape logical operators

·    encryption and decryption

·    backup and security procedures

·    tools for database storage and retrieval, including:

-extracting relevant information through searching and sorting a database

-selecting data from a relational database using Query by Example (QBE) and Structured Query Languages (SQL) commands, including:    




     -order by

·  tools for hypermedia search and

retrieval, including:

-free text searching

-operation of a search engine

     -indexing and search robots


·  reporting on data found in hypermedia systems



Other information processes for database information systems


  • displaying

        -reporting on relevant information held in    a database

-constructing different views of a database for different purposes


Issues related to information systems and databases


  • acknowledgment of data sources
  • the Freedom of Information Act
  • privacy principles
  • quality of data
  • accuracy of data and the reliability of data sources
  • access to data, ownership and control of data
  • data matching to cross link data across multiple databases
  • current and emerging trends in the organisation, processing, storage and retrieval of data


  • identify the type and purpose of a given information system
  • represent an information system using a systems representation tool -identify the purpose, information processes, information technology and participants within a given system

      -represent diagrammatically the flow of information within an information system














  • identify participants, data/information and information technology for the given examples of database information systems
  • describe the relationships between participants, data/information and information technology for the given examples of database information systems


  • choose between a computer based or non-computer based method to organise data, given a particular set of circumstances
  • identify situations where one type of database is more appropriate than another
  • represent an existing relational database in a schematic diagram


  • create a schematic diagram for a scenario where the data is to be organised into a relational database


  • modify an existing schema to meet a change in user requirements


  • choose and justify the most appropriate type of database, flat-file or relational, to organise a given set of data create a simple relational database from a schematic diagram and data dictionary populate a relational database with data describe the similarities and differences between flat-file and relational databases


  • create a data dictionary for a given set of data


  • create documentation, including data modelling, to indicate how a relational database has been used to organise data


  • demonstrate an awareness of issues of privacy, security and accuracy in handling data


  • compare and contrast hypermedia and databases for organising data
  • design and develop a storyboard to represent a set of data items and links between them
  • construct a hypertext document from a storyboard


  • use software that links data, such as:


-HTML editors

      -web page creation software








  • search a database using relational and logical operators
  • output sorted data from a database
  • generate reports from a database
  • construct an SQL query to select data from a given database, matching given criteria
  • calculate the storage requirements for a

given number of records (given a data

dictionary for a database)

  • summarise, extrapolate and report on

data retrieved from the Internet

  • use search engines to locate data on

the World Wide Web

  • describe the principles of the operation

of a search engine


























  • design and create screens for interacting with selected parts of a database and justify their appropriateness
  • design and generate reports from a database






  • identify and apply issues of ownership, accuracy, data quality, security and privacy of information, data matching
  • discuss issues of access to and control of information
  • validate information retrieved from the Internet
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