Items of information that have been stored in a computer normally need to be accessed via their contents. In principle this is always possible by doing an exhaustive scan of the entire file of information, but to achieve the access efficiently we use some sort of organizing principle, a file organization or file structure, to reduce the amount anning. Typically the items retrieved are a response to a request which fully or partially specifies their contents. Often the file organization requires pre‐processing of the body of information so that a secondary body of information (an index or directory) may be created which in some sense reveals the contents of the file. So, ultimately file structures are time saving devices, where we pay for the time saved by extra storage. They enable us quickly to find items of information by completely or partially specifying their contents.
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