Databases for historians
This 4-day course is an introduction to the theory and practice of constructing and using databases. Taught via a mixture of formal lectures and 'hands-on' practical classes, the session will introduce a wide range of skills and techniques, showing how to design and build a database appropriate to the needs of your project, and illustrating how this will help to guide and expand your analysis.
The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to database techniques appropriate for historical research, with the focus very much on the concepts of good database design and the creation of high-quality historical data. The course is taught through a mixture of formal lectures and 'hands-on' practical classes in which students are provided with practical guidance on the use of commercially-available database software packages. The module covers a broad range of skills and techniques, starting with data manipulation in terms of searching, sorting, and editing records, and introducing the main methods of modelling historical data for computer-based analysis. Methods of data collection and data entry are also discussed, together with the principles of coding. The remainder of the course considers the general presentation and publication of historical research findings in terms of the design, calculation and production of tables, charts basic figures, and associated graphics. The module does not require any previous specialist knowledge of computing or training in mathematics, though a working familiarity with Microsoft Windows is necessary and it would be advantageous for participants to take the IHR's free online course Designing Databases for Historical Research in advance of the start.
The course is open to postgraduates, academics and all who are interested in using databases to organise or analyse historical data. Teaching will take place in the IHR's training room on the third floor of Senate House from 10.30-17.00 each day. Places are strictly limited and early application is strongly recommended.