Does SQL databases NOT use a structured way to store and access data?

The first quiz claims that the answer to this question: “Why is MongoDB a NoSQL database?”,
Is this: “Because it uses a structured way to store and access data”

That implies that SQL databases are not a structured way to store and access data. Is that really true?

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Hi @Soren_Lindbo, welcome to the community.
Please note that:

A database implies that there is a structured way to store and organize data.

This is true for any database whether they use rows/documents to store data.
Storing and accessing data in a structured way is essential in order to make sure we are utilizing the resources in an efficient manner and it also helps in making our queries faster.
Now, if MongoDB stores and access data in a structured manner, it does not mean that other databases can not utilize this structured way, it is true for both.

In case you have any doubts, please feel free to reach out to us.

Thanks and Regards.
Sourabh Bagrecha,
Curriculum Services Engineer

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I had this same thought and let them know via the feedback button. The way the question is asked is misleading.

Hi @Soren_Lindbo , @Jennifer_B,

Thank you for the feedback and welcome to the MongoDB Community Forums!

I suspect the question author may have been thinking of structure in terms of richer document structure (arrays & embedded objects versus rows & columns), but the S in SQL stands for Structured so these answers are definitely confusing.

I’m also personally not a fan of the NoSQL term as it doesn’t clearly define a common feature set. Taken literally this might be interpreted as “database not using SQL” or “not only SQL”, but I think a more practical definition would be “database not limited by SQL”. Documents in a single MongoDB collection can have varying shapes or field types that cannot easily be described by a rigid tabular schema, or they can be limited to specific shapes validated by JSON Schema.

If someone really needs to query MongoDB using SQL (for example, using a reporting tool which doesn’t have native MongoDB support), the MongoDB Connector for BI has been available as a read-only SQL option for more than 6 years. However, mapping a flexible data model into the constraints of a tabular query language is not ideal if you want to leverage the full benefits of MongoDB.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the rest of the course! Any further feedback on the learning experience would be highly appreciated.