SAD-File Organisation

A file is organized to ensure that records are available for processing. There are four methods of organizing files: 

1)      Sequential organization:

            Sequential organization means storing and sorting in physical, contiguous blocks within files on tape or disk. Records are also in sequence within each block. To access a record previous records within the block are scanned. In a sequential organization, records can be added only at the end of the file. It is not possible to insert a record in the middle of the file without rewriting the file.

       In a sequential file update, transaction records are in the same sequence as in the master file. Records from both the files are matched, one record at a time, resulting in an updated master file. In a personal computer with two disk drives, the master file is loaded on a diskette into drive A , while the transaction file is loaded on another diskette into drive B.  Updating the master file transfers data from drive B to A controlled by the software in memory.


1.      Simple to design
2.      Easy to program
3.      Variable length and blocked records available
4.      Best use of storage space  


1.      Records cannot be added at the middle of the file.

 2)  Indexed sequential organization:

Like sequential organization, keyed sequential organization stores data in physically contiguous blocks. The difference is in the use of indexes to locate records. There are  three areas in disk storage: prime area, overflow area and index area.

The prime area contains file records stored by key or id numbers. All records are initially stored in the prime area.

The overflow area contains records added to the file that cannot be placed in logical sequence in the  prime area

The index area is more like a data dictionary. It contains keys of records and their locations on the disk. A pointer associated with each key is an address that tells the system where to find a record.


1.     Indexed sequential organization reduces the magnitude of the sequential search and provides quick access for sequential and direct processing.
2.      Records can be inserted in the middle of the file.


1.      It takes longer to search the index for data access or retrieval.
2.      Unique keys are required
3.   Periodic reorganization is required.

3)  Inverted list organization:

Like the indexed- sequential storage method the inverted list organization maintains an index. The two methods differ, however, in the index level and record storage. The indexed sequential method has a multiple index for a given key, where as the inverted list method has a single index for each key type. In an inverted list, records are not necessarily stored in a particular sequence. They are placed in the data storage area, but indexes are updated for the record key and location. The inverted keys are best for applications that request specific data on multiple keys. They are ideal for static files because additions and deletions cause expensive pointer updating.


1.      Used in applications requesting specific data on multiple keys.


Data for the flight reservation system.

The flight number, description and the departure time are as given as keys. In the data location area, no particular sequence is followed. If a passenger needs information about the Houston flight, the agent requests the record with Houston flight. The DBMS carries a sequential search to find the required record. The output will then be That the flight number is 170 departing at 10.10 A.M and flight number 169 departing at 8.15 A.M.

if the passenger searches for information about a Houston flight that departs at 8.15,then the DBMS searches the table and retrievesR3 and R6. Then it checks the flight departure time and retrieves R6 standing for flight number 169.

4)  Direct access organization:

In direct access file organization, records are placed randomly throughout the file. Records need not be in sequence because they are updated directly and rewritten back in the same location. New records are added at the end of the file or inserted in specific locations based on software commands.

    Records are accessed by addresses that specify their disk locations. An address is required for locating a record, for linking records, or for establishing relationships. Addresses are of two types:
  1. Absolute
  2. Relative.
A absolute address represents the physical location of the record. It is usually stated in the format of sector/track/record number. One problem with absolute address is that they become invalid when the file that contains the records is relocated on the disk. 

A relative address gives a record location relative to the beginning of the file. There must be fixed length records for reference. Another way of locating a record is by the number of bytes it is from the beginning of the file. When the file is moved, pointers need not be updated because the relative location remains the same.


1. Records can be inserted or updated in the middle of the file.
2. Better control over record allocation.


1.      Calculating address required for processing.
2.      Impossible to process variable length records.

5)  Chaining:

File organization requires that relationships be established among data items. It must show how characters form fields, fields form files and files relate to each other. Establishing relationship is done through chaining. It uses pointers.

Example: The file below contains auto parts that is a indexed sequential file sequenced by part no. A record can be retrieved by part no. To retrieve the next record, the whole file has to be searched. This can be avoided by the use of pointers.

SAD-File Organisation Reviewed by 1000sourcecodes on 19:42 Rating: 5
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