Digital Technology Workshop
We propose a workshop on creating data for relational databases and designing queries to derive new knowledge from that data. The main data source for the workshop will be the China Biographical Database, currently with many categories of data on over 420,000 men and women in Chinese history. The Database will be offered free of charge to participants in the workshop.
The workshop will have three parts:
(1) What is data and how can it be structured?
(2) What is the difference between a dataset and a relational database?
(3) How to design queries in a relational database.
Users of data in the humanities and non-quantitative social sciences generally are acquainted with datasets, spreadsheets and simple functions. However, in creating data themselves they may not be rigorous in defining fields or attributes, thus limiting their ability to make full use of their data in analysis. This problem is amplified in a relational database which models life histories. A relational database which require both code tables and data tables, multiple tables are linked together. The linking of tables is what makes queries possible.
Queries have proven to be difficult for many users to understand. We will begin with a number of preset queries. This will allow users to see how variables such as time, place and degree of kinship or association function in a query. We will then show users how to build their own queries and the different ways of joining tables together. Finally we will show how to create complex queries in which queries are built on queries.