- Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is a widely accepted application programming interface (API) for database access. It is based on the Call-Level Interface (CLI) specifications from Open Group and ISO/IEC for database APIs and uses Structured Query Language (SQL) as its database access language. ODBC is designed for maximum interoperability - that is, the ability of a single application to access different database management systems (DBMSs) with the same source code. Database applications call functions in the ODBC interface, which are implemented in database-specific modules called drivers. The use of drivers isolates applications from database-specific calls in the same way that printer drivers isolate word processing programs from printer-specific commands. Because drivers are loaded at run time, a user only has to add a new driver to access a new DBMS; it is not necessary to recompile or relink the application.