In the meaning of the European Union Directive 96/9/EC on the legal protection of databases,the term database refers to a collection of independent works, data or other materials, which have been arranged in a systematic or methodical way, and have been made individually accessible by electronic or other means. In the meaning of the Directive the data or materials:

- must not be linked, or must be capable of separation without losing their informative content;

- must be organised according to specific criteria, which means that only planned collections are covered;

- must be individually accessible – mere storage of data is not covered by the term database.