Programming languages have traditionally had more data types than database systems. The flexibility of abstract types could make a database system more useful in supporting application development. Abstract types allow users to think about and manipulate data in terms and structures that they are familiar with. This paper proposes that databases have a type system interface and describes a representation of a type system in terms of relations. The type system model supports a variety of programming language constructs, such as user-defined parameterized data types and user-defined generic operations. The efficiency of the type system is compared to the access time of the database system. © 1984, IEEE.