The dictionary datatype in Python works like a hash table in Perl. It stores pairs of keys and values. It is very efficient at retrieving values when given a particular key. Here are a few examples of ways to use dictionaries in Python: [python]>>> dict = {} # empty dictionary >>> dict['a'] = 'hello' # adding new key/value pair: key 'a' value 'hello' >>> dict['bob'] = 6 # keys can be strings and values can be anything - number, string... >>> dict['a'] # getting value of a 'hello' >>> dict['bob'] 6 >>> dict[6] = 'frank' # keys can be integers as well >>> dict.keys() # method to return all keys in dictionary ['a', 'bob', 6] >>> dict.values() # method to return values ['hello', 6, 'frank'] >>> 'a' in dict # testing if key 'a' is in dict True >>> 'x' in dict # testing if key 'x' is in dict False >>> print dict # print contents of dictionary {'a': 'hello', 'bob': 6, 6: 'frank'} [/python] I like that it is very easy to just add new key/value pairs to a dictionary. I'm trying to finish an exercise using dictionaries and files in Python, so I will edit this post with my results once I finish it!