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Spreadsheet vs. database

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Ogreon, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. Ogreon

    Ogreon unlisted

    Oct 3, 2006
    At the moment I keep my book collection in a Gnumeric spreadsheet. Is there a general point where learning to use a database manager instead, makes sense? (I'm currently over 6,000).

    If I should transition to a database manager, are there some decent freebies that are relatively easy to use?
  2. wct097


    Jan 11, 2000
    What are you doing with it? I'd jump to a database if you had multiple tables you were tracking, you needed to do queries against the data, or you started having issues with the spreadsheet program not being able to summarize in a timely fashion.

    Just keeping a list of books? I'd stick with the spreadsheet.

  3. Ogreon

    Ogreon unlisted

    Oct 3, 2006
    It's pretty much a card catalog replacement. I mainly use it to keep from buying multiple copies of the same book.

    I think I'll take your advice and stick to the spreadsheet.
  4. hamster

    hamster NRA Life Member

    Feb 22, 2010
    What he said. For a simple listing, a database won't really give you anything that a spreadsheet won't. However, if you'd like to try there is a decent database included with the free OpenOffice suite.

    As a hint. In order to prepare your spreadsheet for a future life in a datbase, make sure that reach row (record) has one field which is unique. Say the ISBN number. This would become your "Primary Key"
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  5. Chevytuff19


    Apr 25, 2002
    I used to work with a lot of databases, and they can be very powerful. Say you want to see if you already purchased a book...just create a query with a parameter for the book title field. Then, you just type in the book name and it will bring up any books with that same name. Similarly, you could create a query that will bring up just books by one author, so you will know which books you should acquire to complete your collection.

    I do agree, though, that a database is probably overkill for your needs. It wouldn't hurt to play around with it, though, as it might come in handy in the future.
  6. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    I don't see how a database would be overkill. It's pretty easy with either Microsoft Access or the Open Office equivalent to start a new database, create the fields and import from the rows of the spreadsheet to populate it. I'd say give it a try and then decide which suits your needs the best.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  7. Ogreon

    Ogreon unlisted

    Oct 3, 2006
    I'll keep this in mind. Unfortunately, I haven't been keeping track of the ISBN. That's a lot of numbers to look up.