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Chapter 2. The Basics of Database Design > Planning and Designing the HelloWorl... - Pg. 42

The Basics of Database Design 42 Planning for the Data Your Database Will Store Putting a field in one table rather than another makes a difference in how easily you can enter data or view the records you need to see. As you begin to plan a database, you should know what data you have, identify what information you need the database to produce, and determine who will use the database and how they expect to use it. For example, are you the only person who will use the database? Will the database be used by you and a couple of coworkers, a whole department, or a group of six volunteers who see each other only once a month? Does your company or organization have other databases? Does the database you're designing need to meet a set of formal specifi- cations? It's important to understand the requirements of a database, whether the requirements are defined by you or given to you by a client, your peers, or your managers. The data you want to store might be contained in computer files of one sort or another it might be part of an existing database or in spreadsheets, for example or all or some of the data you need to organize and analyze might be included on printed forms such as invoices or order slips. A well- designed database not only enables you to store data efficiently, it also provides a means to easily view the data, analyze it, and create summaries that you use to make decisions. Planning a data- base from the start, before you create tables and fields, is usually less work than making changes to a database you've put together by trial and error, especially after you've filled the tables with data and put together forms and reports. Knowing all the details you can about the collection of data that will be stored in a database leads to a set of tables with relationships that can effectively pull together the information you need. When you organize your data carefully, you'll add flexibility to your database and be able to gather and present your data in many different ways. The goals you'll meet by taking time to plan a database include the following: · The database will provide the information you set out to provide. It will reflect the requirements