A Database is Born

I never expected to be able to say this so quickly, but I have a database – and it works!

Okay, so I did have a few hiccups along the way and had to search out the info on the internet (I’ll link to the places I went as I describe my process), and I do have experience of using Microsoft Access, as I mentioned before, but still, I never expected to be able to say that yet. Now, all I have to do is enter the data (not strictly true, because after I’ve entered the data, I’ll have to set up reports, but that’s another topic entirely).

So, this is what it looks like.

Data Entry form.

Well, that’s what the pretty side looks like.

What we have here is the main data entry form I’ve created. You can see (if you’ve got very good eyesight) that I’ve started to enter the first scene from Trapped. This form doesn’t have all the information that the database will hold, but it has links to it.

The main form is based on the Book Table. Then, there is a subform containing the Scene Table. Linked to the Scene Table, there are subforms for the Character Table, the Place Table and the important Facts Table. These either have one-to-many, or many-to-many relationships. So, the Book Table has a one-to-many relationship with the Scene Table (ie one book has many scenes). However, the Scene Table and the Character Table have a many-to-many relationship (ie each character can be in many scenes and there can be many characters in each scene). The same many-to-many relationship is also invoked with the Scene Table and the Places Table (I so wish I’d called that Locations, but I’m not fiddling around with that now that it works!). And, finally, the Fact Table has a one-to-one relationship with the Scenes Table (each fact can only belong to one scene).

Along the right, I’ve created buttons to take me to all the other entry forms so that if I find something isn’t already in a list that I need, I can add it without exiting the main data form (as long as I save the info). That’s why I’ve put in so many navigation bars, to remind me to keep saving, because all the relationships are quite complicated.

You’ll notice some info is in there twice, eg I have a POV field in the Scene Table when the Characters are also listed in the Characters subform, because I couldn’t sensibly find a way to separate that out. I’ll also have to enter the ‘fictional’ date that everything happened onto each fact. I could’ve created a separate table for that, but it just seemed like too much hassle and too much complexity.

So, in my next (database) post, I’ll show you how to create all the tables and the relationships if you want to try your own database. Till then (I’ll be frantically entering data into mine!).

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