Email to the Editor:
Concerning your article about where to begin with electronic database use, I can offer several other suggestions to your readers:
Dr. Richard "Dick" Vedder
Associate Professor of MIS5
University of North Texas
I agree with most of Mr. Vedderís comments and thank him especially for mentioning PC clubs and user groups. Members of those groups are often very eager to help serious users. However, I am not sure I would worry about the limit of 5000 records per table noted as his first point. That limit has more to do with speed of access and response than anything else; larger databases can certainly be handled by PCs and MACs, with speed being the only problem. Furthermore, relying on a server is impractical in the field and adds significant overhead for computing power and (expensive) expertise in setting up the database implementation in the home institution.
I would also want to be sure to recommend a spreadsheet for only the simplest of jobs. For those jobs, a spreadsheet will work, as Mr. Vedder has rightly noted. In addition, spreadhseet data can easily be exported to a database later. Unfortunately, I have seen spreadsheets used very badly too often; so I would warn users to resist the temptation to use them for anything that is at all complex, lest they miss out on useful capabilities of relatively simple database programs in the process.
Harrison Eiteljorg, II
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For other Newsletter articles concerning the use of electronic media or databases in the humanities, consult the Subject index.
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