KCL • CCH • Minor programme • AV1000 • Relational analysis
These pages illustrate the development of a computerised database from historical records. The immediate purpose is to show what the development of a database (properly so called) actually entails, and thus to show how a database tends to differ from a collection of facts. By doing so, the role of disciplined interpretation in the construction of a database should become clear.
The material chosen for the purpose, the Listed Buildings System of the National Monuments Record (U.K.), was recorded prior to the widespread use of computing for historical purposes. It is now what is popularly called “legacy data”, i.e. inherited material requiring transformation in order to be accessible by modern means. The nature of that transformation is the subject of these pages.
Three forms of these data will be illustrated: (1) the original form, as typewritten entries following a more or less standard format; (2) a fixed tabular structure identical for each entry no matter what kind of artefact is being recorded (e.g. terraced house, telephone box, stone wall, palace); (3) the design for a relational database.
The database itself is lbs.mdb. (This is an Access 2003 file; there are different versions for Access 97 and Access 2000.)
revised February 2008