The 1980s, along with a rise in object oriented programming, saw a growth in how data in various databases were handled. Programmers and designers began to treat the data in their databases as objects. That is to say that if a person's data were in a database, that person's attributes, such as their address, phone number, and age, were now considered to belong to that person instead of being extraneous data. This allows for relationships between data to be relation to objects and their attributes and not to individual fields.
Another big game changer for databases in the 1980s was the focus on increasing reliability and access speeds. In 1989, two professors from the University of Michigan at Madison, published an article at an ACM associated conference outlining their methods on increasing database performance. The idea was to replicate specific important, and often queried information, and store it in a smaller temporary database that linked these key features back to the main database. This meant that a query could search the smaller database much quicker, rather than search the entire dataset. This eventually leads to the practice of indexing, which is used by almost every operating system from Windows to the system that operates Apple iPod devices.