Designing Databases for Historical Research by Matt Phillpott.
From the post:
The Institute of Historical Research now offer a wide selection of digital research training packages designed for historians and made available online on History SPOT. Most of these have received mention on this blog from time to time and hopefully some of you will have had had a good look at them. These courses are freely available and we only ask that you register for History SPOT to access them (which is a free and easy process). Full details of our online and face-to-face courses can also be found on the IHR website. Here is a brief look at one of them.
Designing Databases for Historical Research was one of two modules that we launched alongside History SPOT late in 2011. Unlike most courses on databases that are generic in scope, this module focuses very much on the historian and his/her needs. The module is written in a handbook format by Dr Mark Merry. Mark runs our face to face databases course and is very much the man to go to for advice on building databases to house historical data.
The module looks at the theory behind using databases rather than showing you how to build them. It is very much a starting point, a place to go to before embarking on the lengthy time that databases require of their creators. Is your historical data appropriate for database use or should a different piece of software be used? What things should you consider before starting the database? Getting it right from the very beginning does save you a lot of time and frustration later on.
If you need more convincing then here is a snippet from the module, where Mark discusses the importance of thinking about the data and database before you even open up the software.
Great background material if you are working in history or academic circles.