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Tech Free Database Software

MikeL2 18 Jan 14 - 08:50 AM
DMcG 18 Jan 14 - 08:53 AM
MikeL2 18 Jan 14 - 09:09 AM
MikeL2 18 Jan 14 - 09:11 AM
DMcG 18 Jan 14 - 09:22 AM
treewind 18 Jan 14 - 11:04 AM
treewind 18 Jan 14 - 11:06 AM
Bill D 18 Jan 14 - 11:58 AM
Bill D 18 Jan 14 - 12:16 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Jan 14 - 12:58 AM
JohnInKansas 19 Jan 14 - 01:03 AM
Snuffy 19 Jan 14 - 04:10 AM
MikeL2 19 Jan 14 - 06:52 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 14 - 07:52 AM
Newport Boy 19 Jan 14 - 12:00 PM
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Subject: Tech Free Database Software
From: MikeL2
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 08:50 AM

Hi

I have used Microsoft Office for several Years and today my licence ran out.

I hardly use it these days but I do want to be able to create and maintain simple databases occasionally.

Can anyone recommend Free programs that will enable me to do this.
I am very dubious about using free software so if some-one can help suggest something safe it will be much appreciated.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 08:53 AM

Can you explain what you mean by a database? In the technical use of the term, I'd say something like MySQL, but my suspicion is that you don't want anything much more than something like Excel with almost no calculations. Is my guess right?


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: MikeL2
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 09:09 AM

Hi DMcG

Yes I guess you are right. But I have tried to organise (my disorganised data)in Excell and I find it difficult to get the data in the columns in the sequences that I want to.

I have to confess that I do not really fully understand Excell or even databases for that matter.

What I am trying to do is to create asorted and indexed summary for all the titles held on CD's, DVDs and Blu Ray discs.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: MikeL2
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 09:11 AM

PS to above

.....I have some 500 or more


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 09:22 AM

If you don't want to get into the technicalities of databases - and for a job like that it probably isn't worth it - then your best bet might be something like LibreOffice which is rather like MS Office. Then spend a little time learning how to sort the various columns data columns into different orders. Yes, that is far less powerful than a 'proper' database but is probably sufficient.

Whether you use something like that, or a proper database, or a specialist application for music organisation, you will still have to take a disciplined approach to entering the data. Although I don't do much of this, I've still fallen foul of not defining a sensible and consistent naming scheme to cope with "The Watersons", "Waterson:Carthy", "Martin Carthy" and so on. Thinking about all of that sort of stuff up front repays the effort.


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: treewind
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 11:04 AM

Libre Office can, in fact, work with a read database backend like MySQL. But it does certainly have the option of keeping all your data in a simple local file.

The problem with it, after something like Access, is that its user interface is hard to learn and doesn't have the features of Access.

You might be better off with something like Cardbox which has been around since the days of DOS, when it was very simple but still quite powerful and useful. It's much more sophisticated now and runs on any Windows (2000/XP). Cardbox was recently repriced from £199 to FREE !


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: treewind
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 11:06 AM

Duh! "read database backend" should be "real database backend"...


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 11:58 AM

There is a database program at http://plworx-software.com/ dBworx 3.8 freeware.

And another here: http://www.arachnoid.com/dbedit/

(The guy who runs Arachnoid is a genuine genius.... which doesn't guarantee that you'll like his specific programs.)


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 12:16 PM

Another one here: http://skwire.dcmembers.com/wb/pages/software/snap-db.php


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jan 14 - 12:58 AM

It's hard to see why Excel couldn't have sorted your stuff any way you wanted it, but with limited experience it can be pretty tough to figure out which bells to ring and when to blow the whistles.

In some ways, Word actually is a more "powerful" (or versatile) program and with some help in where to click it could have handled a pretty full index of half-a-hundred disks, and actually does have pretty good sorting capabilities, although Excel would be quicker at that particular function for a larger data set.

If you no longer have those programs, LibreOffice is free and is claimed to have nearly all of the same capabilities as those two, although I'm not familiar enough with it to offer much of an opinion.

Five hundred or so disks isn't really a large number, and a simple "list" in a good word processor should be able to handle what it sounds like you want to do, unless you want stuff like performance information, all the players in the band for each number on every disk, and "long fields" that wouldn't fit into a setup just using tab separated columns (or tables) in Word, or in an Excel spreadsheet.

Even with ~20 songs per disk, 500 disks, you've only got about 1,000 songs(?).

A while back, I kept an "index" of songbooks and CDs in Word, that included about 230 books/CDs/tapes. I made a list of the books/CDs with full "publishing information" at the top, with a "short name" for each so that using the short name it and the other information would fit into conveniently wide columns with source in one column.

A separate list of songs, by title, followed, with about 36,000 titles, each on a separate line with tune name in one column, book/CD short name, format (lyric only, tune only, lyric with tune, or full score - abreviated) in other columns, a brief description in another column, and a couple of other similar columns. The "list of tunes" contained about 36,400 song/tune titles and ran to around 680 pages by the time we couldn't find any books/recordings with songs we didn't already have, and I quite keeping track.

The list could be sorted to put the lines in order according to any column although once it went past about 300 pages (7,00 lins?) Excel would have been quicker. (A re-sort to group all the songs in a particular book, or on a CD or tape, together (DVDs didn't exist then) was a common use. I think once I sorted by the "key" column to get a list of "tunes in G or D" in response to a request.)

More information could have been added easily, since a page can be up to at least 22" inches wide in Word (but might be hard to print); but my list didn't require more than a normal 8.5" width.

The problem is NOT to just throw another program at it. What needs to be done is to decide what information you really want to keep track of, how you can organize your information in the best way, and what's the simplest program that will do the job.

A simple list in a decent word processor is probably the easiest if the data isn't too extensive. Learning to use a few "extra" features of the wp program may be more efficient that getting a "more powerful" program.

A spreadsheet can generally handle more data, but for many users may require a little steeper learning curve. There's a tradoff between how much program you have and how much you must learn about how to use it.

A "real database" program generally can handle "more stuff," but has a significantly steeper, and deeper, learning curve for most users who don't have at least some experience with this kind of software. Many DB programs also present a real problem if you decide you need to "add a field" to keep track of something new, and may require what amounts to "creating a new database" to change anything that affects the data structure.

"What you really want to do" is the first step, and the more completely you can figure out what you want to set up, the easier it will be to pick a program to do it. (If your data is really useful, you'll probably be using it for quite a while too.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jan 14 - 01:03 AM

typo above: "(7,00 lins?)" should have been "(7,000 lines?)" but my fingerss were getting numb.

I put a fresh pot of brew on and have begun recovery.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Jan 14 - 04:10 AM

If you just want it for your recording collection rather than general database use, then Windows Media Player, (or any other similar program) is in effect a database - WMP has 40 separate columns for you to keep data for each track.

If you need some specific information not catered for by a specific column, you can put it any unused column: for example, I have put the Roud Index Number in the Keywords column.


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: MikeL2
Date: 19 Jan 14 - 06:52 AM

Hi Guys

Many thanks for your great comments. I am slowly working through them and I am sure that I will find a suitable solution among your kind answers.

Mudcat once again comes up trumps for helping computer idiots like me.

Thanks

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 14 - 07:52 AM

Just to add: iTunes can be used as a song listing - as Snuffy has hinted above - because it's based on actual tracks and real tunes.

When I bought my Mac Book laptop on retirement, I also invested in FileMaker Pro, which wasn't that cheap, but is excellent database software. I use it for my vast sheet music archive, for my watch database, family history data and other things. Like all things, it takes a bit of learning, but is very versatile.


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Subject: RE: Tech Free Database Software
From: Newport Boy
Date: 19 Jan 14 - 12:00 PM

FileMaker Pro is the best-written database program I have used. As Will says, it's not cheap but is very powerful and easy to use after the initial learning curve. It is available for Windows as well as Mac.

I first saw it 18 months ago and over the past year have developed a membership database and a concert booking & invoicing database. Both are fully menu-driven and look good on screen (IMO)

Phil


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