I read three manuals or tutorials for database recently: SQL, mongo and Berkeley DB. SQL is rational database which you could treat it as a bigger "excel". Berkeley DB is simply key to data database. And mongo is document database which handle special json like document.
Berkeley DB is popular database in Unix/Linux world. It is the successor for gdbm. Oracle bought Berkeley DB and developed it with more function like transaction (group command), concurrency (prevent write one record by two guys together) and SQL capacity.Since it is key-data database, it is very convinient to store contact with bdb.
Mongo is database for json like document. From my understanding, Mongo is optimized for distribution/cluster and index. It is all for big-data.
SQL is most popular database for nearly all things. In SQL, everything is organized as tables. Everything record is one row which has several values/attributions. Also you could link two tables together if they has common values/attributions. SQL is used everywhere: blog, news site, bank, schools.