School of Information Management & Systems. M. Buckland. Spring 2000.
245 Organization of Information in Collections.

Assignment 8: Design an Database for an Unusual Collection.
Due April 3, 10, 17.

Create an online database of representations of unusual objects. The objective is to obtain first-hand experience in designing a datastructure, assigning metadata values, designing standardized queries, preparing documentation, and writing a user's manual. Use Microsoft Access.

Choose a collection of phenomena to be described: things, persons, events, ideas,... but not texts or publications. Fifteen or twenty items. Past examples include: My son Timmy's stuffed animals; Places I like to hang out; My relatives; The contents of my frig; Contents of my aunts apartment in Cairo; Medieval Irish heroines; etc. Choice is subject to instructor's approval.

Design an object - attribute - value record structure and specify for each attribute (field) whether the value can be duplicated in multiple records and the default sort (filing) order. Minimum requirements: An ID field as unique numerical identifier; a personal name field, a date field, a binary (Yes/No) field, and a field for narrative text (description, explanation, note). One or more fields should be suitable for a controlled vocabulary (thesaurus).

An explanation of the data structure and a sample Record is due April 3 .

Create and use only a single Table. A printout is due April 10 .

Create three queries using Design Query. Create a concise User's Manual that includes sufficient instructions for a do-it-yourself demo that illustrates the richness of your data, the power of the query language, and your own ingenuity in the design of an easy-to-use, user-friendly system. The demo should include three worked examples using the three queries that you have created and the creation of a new search using design query. Assume that users will be familiar only with basic word-processing and web-surfing and that the Access Help screens and wizards are not working.
Manual and copy of the database are due April 17 .
(Rev. April 11, 2000.)