Databases for Historians.

Given by Susan Laflin.

This course was given as a 10-credit module for History undergraduates and was last given in 1999. The slides used in the lectures are included here and so are the exercises. The Access database sidbury.mdb is in the same directory and may be copied and loaded on to a PC and run in Access for use in the exercises.

Objectives: To introduce students to the possibilities of using computers to handle information and develop the skill and experience to set up and use a simple database.

Accessing information via the computer - sources of data including the world-wide-web. Setting up a database:- analysis of the problem, design of tables, data capture and validation. Using the database:- applying queries, relations between tables, methods of presentation of the results. Examples chosen will be relevant to humanities students and the course will compare the use of Access (a relational database widely used for commercial and other applications whose use can be adapted to the needs of historians) and Kleio (a software package specially designed for use by historians).

Delivery: Lectures, Tutorials, and Practical work adding up to 4 hours per week.
Assessment: 50% continuous and 50% examination.

Key Texts
Information and Data Modelling. David Beynon. McGraw Hill.
Databases in Historical Research. Charles Harvey & Jon Press. Macmillan.
Any of the texts on Microsoft Access (the bookshop has a large selection all very similar in content - students should choose the one whose format appeals to them).
A23 A Tutorial for Kleio. Matthew Woollard & Peter Denley. ISBN 3-928134-92-2 10.00 from The Humanities Computing Centre, Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London.

Pre-requisites: Some limited experience of computers e.g. for word-processing.

The Lectures.

Lecture 1. Introduction.
Exercise 1.
Lecture 2. Software for Historical Databases.
Lecture 3. Relational Databases.
Lecture 4. Designing a relational database.
Exercise 2.
Lecture 5. Querying a Database.
Lecture 6. Normalising the Design.
Lecture 7. Database Design with examples.
Exercise 3.
Lecture 8. Entity-Relationship Diagram.
Lecture 9. Example 1: The business elite of Bristol 1870-1914.
Lecture 10. Tutorial discussion of exercise 2.
Exercise 4.
Lecture 11. Example 2: The Tahrir Defters of the 15th & 16th centuries.
Lecture 12. Example 3. A database for the population of Sidbury parish.
Lecture 13. Association for History & Computing and the Kleio software package.
Lecture 14. Example 4. Domesday Book.

Copyright (c) Susan Laflin. 1998.