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Chapter 2. Starting a Database > Planning Content

Planning Content

Before you begin building your contact- management database, you should plan your content. By doing so, you can ensure that your database meets your intended needs, that it includes all the necessary objects and information, and that it won't require extensive changes after the database is in place. It's best to plot this stage of database planning on paper.

To plan database content:

1.
Determine the categories of information you want to include.

Figure out the general types of information you'll be storing. For example, in our contact-management database, we'll want to store information about our contacts, the calls we've made, and what type of contact it is.

2.
Break these categories into smaller subcategories. Determine the data items you'll include for each kind of information planned in Step 1.

For example, you need to determine exactly what your contact information includes, such as first names, last names, middle initials, street addresses, phone numbers, and so on.

3.
Reduce the information to the smallest increments possible. Break down each subcategory again, into the smallest pieces possible. For example, you can break down street addresses into fields such as street name and number, city, state, ZIP, country, and apartment or suite number.

4.
Check carefully for duplicated information.

Duplicated information in a database design indicates that your design may not be the most efficient.


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