In the hierarchical data model, information is organized as a collection of inverted trees of records. The inverted trees may be of arbitrary depth. The record at the root of a tree has zero or more child records; the child records, in turn, serve as parent records for their immediate descendants. This parent-child relationship recursively continues down the tree.
The records consists of fields, where each field may contain simple data values (e.g. integer, real, text), or a pointer to a record. The pointer graph is not allowed to contain cycles. Some combinations of fields may form the key for a record relative to its parent. Only a few hierarchical DBMSs support null values or variable-length fields.