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Information Management System (IMS) is a general term for software designed to facilitate the storage, organization and retrieval of information.
IMS is also the name of IBM’s mammoth software program developed in the 1960s to support NASA's Apollo space program. This IMS version was the precursor to IBM's premier hierarchical database management system (DBMS).
Unlike DB2 (IBM’s relational database software), an IMS database uses segments, or data blocks, as building blocks of the hierarchical model. Within each segment are multiple data pieces, which are known as fields. At the top of the hierarchy, the segment is known as the root segment. Segments of a specific segment are known as child segments. The child segment order represents the order in which each entry is entered in a database.
Hierarchical IMS databases generally come in three forms: