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2003-10-03 - Microsoft Access A Primer for Relational...

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Microsoft Access - PA Harris, Vanderbilt University A Primer for Relational Database Design and Use Paul A. Harris, Ph.D. Director, GCRC Informatics October 3, 2003
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Microsoft Access – Module 1 PA Harris, Vanderbilt University An Overview of MS-Access
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What is Microsoft Access? Microsoft Access is a relational database management system (DBMS or RDBMS). At the very core, it is a software “engine” that provides an interface between physical data and user application queries. Other examples of DBMS applications include: Oracle mySQL SQL Server (Microsoft) DB2 (IBM) Informix PA Harris, Vanderbilt University
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Why choose MS-Access over SPSS / Excel? Although there is always overlap, the following rules might help when deciding when / when not to use MS Access: MS Access is best used for long-term data storage and/or data sharing. MS Excel is best used for minor data collection, manipulation, and especially visualization. SPSS is best used for minor data collection and especially data analysis. It is easy to export data from MS Access to Excel SPSS PA Harris, Vanderbilt University
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Why choose MS-Access over other DBMS systems? Cheap, readily available (packaged with MS-Office Premium). Easy to use (relative to other systems –Oracle may require one FTE to maintain the server as a database administrator and another FTE to serve as an application developer). Includes front-end tools for rapid application development (RAD). This also makes MS-Access a good prototype environment. PA Harris, Vanderbilt University
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Why choose other DBMS systems over MS-Access? MS-Access can handle a large number of records, but is somewhat slow compared to some of the high-end platforms. Multiple users may use the database simultaneously, but MS- Access is known to become unstable with greater than 3-5 users. There is a “snob factor”. I personally recommend the use of other systems (Oracle, SQL Server, mySQL, etc) when writing grant proposals - especially phase II type grants). PA Harris, Vanderbilt University
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What is in an MS-Access file - 1? Although the term “database” typically refers to a collection of related data tables, an Access database includes more than just data. In addition to tables, you can add: Saved queries (stored procedures) - organizing and/or manipulating data Forms – gui interaction with data, event programming Reports – customized results for printing (~ static forms) Macros and VB programs for extending functionality Microsoft provides some logical integration of these tools through “wizards”. However, these are pretty basic - most developers must pick and choose the best approach when implementing applications. PA Harris, Vanderbilt University
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What is in an MS-Access file - 2?
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