TEACH: Database fundamentals

Having data in a spreadsheet can be fine for many types of data and projects, but when you want to start interrogating the data in more complex ways a relational database is much more powerful. There are numerous programmes around to create such a database in (MySQL is a powerful free one), but before we get to that stage it is necessary first to plan out the database, going back to first principles.

I propose covering these first principles step by step, then working our way together through a few sample datasets to think about how we would structure that data for a relational database. If you have some data you would like to go through, feel free to bring it along.

Categories: Linked Data, Session: Teach |

About Rebecca Lenihan

My PhD was undertaken with the Irish and Scottish Studies Programme at the Stout Centre at VUW, developing a database of Scottish migrants arriving in New Zealand between 1840 and 1920. Both my PhD and my post-doc (at the University of Guelph) have made use of databases, and I have recently begun to dabble with GIS. My long term research goal is a population register of 1881 New Zealand (in lieu of the destroyed census returns).

4 Responses to TEACH: Database fundamentals

  1. Tellya Later says:

    Just a note for people interested in this topic, bring along a copy of SQLite and, if you use Firefox, install SQLite Manager before you attend. SQLite is probably the simplest form of free database available in terms of the infrastructure required to use it. That way you can jump right in and start exploring the database concepts that Rebecca will probably be discussing.

    • For sure, feel free to bring along some software to try out afterwards, but for the session itself even just old fashioned pen and paper will do – we’ll be going right back to basics.

  2. Link to a Google Drive folder with some sample data and a pdf of the basic principles powerpoint here: drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9AU6p1uzAS-SEd1TFUxXzdSSTQ&usp=sharing

  3. I’ve been using this SQL designer tool which is nice for drawing tables and creating relations between them. You can also save your project as an XML file so you can back up your work, share or load back into the browser later.

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