Designing Databases for Historical Research

Historical Research Handbook: Designing Databases for Historical Research

C. Fundamentals of database design

C1. Introduction

This section of the Handbook provides an introduction to the basic concepts that underpin the design and use of databases. It will focus on aspects of the database which will need to be considered at the beginning of the database design process, alongside the identification of information in the sources (see Sections B and E). The ideas and approaches discussed here are independent of the sources being employed by the historian, and as such will apply to every database used in a historical research project (and indeed to most databases in general). This section will not address technology or software, but rather it will examine conceptual approaches to designing database in the abstract, and specifically how these concepts will affect databases to be created and used by historians.