The above image was created by joining various fields within PAT.DBF and AAT.DBF files. This exercise shows what can be done with vector data among numerous tables. Keep in mind that the tables as a result are virtual tables and are not hardwired into any diskspace. One can choose to save the tables physically by outputting the theme to a shapefile. The subsequent themes are a result of spatial queries and aliasing various tables to execute clean join functions. The last theme results from a query to summarize the shortest path from point to point.
ArcView (and ArcInfo) works in a 'project' environment. The .apr (or project / coverage) file acts as the master file for the project and contains links, pointers, and paths to which the project calls data from. The view acts as the interface between the raw data and the end-user. Finally the theme displays feature source data and resulting queries. As a result, ESRI projects must be imported or exported as a whole, (relative to eachother) so that all files can be pointed to.