Access Method

What Does Access Method Mean?

An access method is a software component, operating system service or network interface that handles the storage/retrieval and sending/receipt of data. Access methods provide an application programming interface (API) for programmers to perform these services, which rely on low-level, specialized instructions.

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In the 1960s, access methods were introduced by IBM as part of the mainframe OS/360 to provide access to data stored on disks, magnetic tapes and other external storage devices. In non-mainframe operating systems, this function is handled by device drivers.

Techopedia Explains Access Method

Access methods provide a convenient service to programmers for managing data storage and transmission. While providing the programmer with flexibility, the abstraction hides the many details regarding low-level disk access and communication protocol operations.

Access methods include internal structures to organize data as data sets, system-provided programs or macros to define data sets, and utility programs for data set processing. Error detection and correction capabilities are also provided.

Storage-oriented access methods include:

  • Basic direct access method (BDAM)
  • Basic sequential access method (BSAM)
  • Basic partitioned access method (BPAM)
  • Queued sequential access method (QSAM)
  • Indexed sequential access method (ISAM)
  • Virtual storage access method (VSAM)
  • Object access method (OAM)

Network-oriented access methods include:

  • Basic telecommunications access method (BTAM)
  • Queued teleprocessing access method (QTAM)
  • Telecommunications access method (TCAM)
  • Virtual telecommunications access method (VTAM)
  • Channeled access method (CAM)
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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.