Random access

See Random access – Wikipedia

random access : the ability to access an arbitrary element of a sequence in equal time or any datum from a population of addressable elements roughly as easily and efficiently as any other, no matter how many elements may be in the set. In computer science it is typically contrasted to sequential access which requires data to be retrieved in the order it was stored.

A typical illustration of this distinction is to compare an ancient scroll (sequential; all material prior to the data needed must be unrolled) and the book (direct: can be immediately flipped open to any arbitrary page). A more modern example is a cassette tape (sequential — one must fast forward through earlier songs to get to later ones) and a CD (direct access — one can skip to the track wanted, knowing that it would be the one retrieved).