DOMESTIC BUILDINGS RESEARCH GROUP (SURREY)



Database - page 1

The D.B.R.G. database

by Jim Miller

The intention of this topic is to explain what the DBRG database is, how it came to be in its present form, how we operate it and what benefits it provides. It may also be of some interest to anyone interested in domestic architecture who has had experience of setting up such a database or is considering doing so.

What is a database?

As the application of computers to business expanded in the 1960s they were used increasingly to store large amounts of information (data) which had previously been kept on paper (ledgers,card indexes,etc). Such a collection of information was termed a database.

In order to keep track of such information the first Database Management Systems were born - for use on the very large computers of that time (Main frames).

After the advent of personal computers (not just PCs) in the 1980s DM Systems for individual use began to be available and by the 1990s the DBRG had started to construct a DMS and a database to cover all its recordings. A second database to cover Brick, Stone & Weatherboard buildings and a third to handle Membership information were added in due course.

What sort of information does the main DBRG database contain?

The primary element is a record representing a DBRG report. Initially these records only contained the name, National Grid Reference and estimated construction date of each building but now over 60% also include a summary description and some salient facts and are linked to a secondary record containing a list of noteworthy architectural features. For several complex buildings a second, or even third, record covers later builds.

Work continues to add all such information to the remaining records.

What benefits do we derive from having this database?

The immediate benefit is the provision of an index to all our reports, which can be published as a booklet or as pages on our website.

The long term benefit is that it facilitates research by making it simple to undertake fast searches for specific classes of information, or any combination of them.

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©DBRG 6th January 2008