I want to start by talking about the LONG data type in Oracle. You can have at most one column of type LONG per table. This data is stored inline (which means it is in the table, not referenced by the table). This column can store up to 2G of data.

A LOB is a large unstructured data type. An example of a LOB is an image. Use the DBMS_LOB built-in package to deal with this data type.

A related data type is the BFILE. This represents an external LOB. You initialize columns of type BFILE using the BFILENAME function to point to the actual file that is backed by the BFILE.

Finally let me mention temporary LOBs. They last as long as your session. These types of LOBs are not associated with tables. They are good for transforming data. Next time I will continue to discuss LOBs, with emphasis on performance and encryption.