in theory it is possible to talk directly to a database with actionscript but it is very complex.
most people use a server side script which flash communicates with, and the script talks to the database. assuming you are using a windows server, look for tutorials on connecting flash to a SQL database - it is basically the same as connecting to an access db.
one thing to note about access: it can only handle 10 simultaneous connections so its not very good for websites - if possible, use a SQL or mySQL database.
Thanks for your response. This application will be hosted on a Windows server. As such, it sounds like ASP.NET will be the best approach to establish a "bridge" between the Flash application and the database, which will be upsized from Access to SQL Server. Can .fla files be directly embedded into ASP.NET sites?
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fla files themselves aren't placed on webservers - it is the .swf files produced by flash CS3/4/5 that are put on the server and they are embedded into a webpage in the same way as images (although the actual html for a swf is more complex than for an image)