Databases for collaboration: Is Access the way to go?
January 14, 2010 1:46 AM   Subscribe

Is there an online Access-like database?

I'm working on a team of students who are looking to build a database of specific syntactic characteristics of a large set (let's say several hundred) of languages. So the plan now is to send out an Access database to each expert and ask him/her to fill it in.

However, I have my doubts about Access. For one thing, I don't like and for another, I'm worried about merging databases. If linguist X and Y both mail back their access database, is it even possible to merge them? I'd prefer something online and collaborative, though I think Evernote is not really the best choice (though personally I'd prefer it) because the fields are pretty black-and-white, no need for clouds or tagging.

Can someone reccomend an online collaborative database in which we could make our own fields and collect and share data? If nothing like this exists, what sort of database would you reccomend that would allow easy merging and collaboration?

posted by mateuslee to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Try Zoho Creator, which is a web-based "platform on demand" -- it's pretty easy to use, has a drag-and-drop interface for creating fields, etc., and is free for just a couple of users. I use it at my job and really like it.
posted by ukdanae at 2:57 AM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could try a Googe Docs spreadsheet. Not exactly a database, but it might get the job done. Plus it's free.
posted by te1contar at 6:04 AM on January 14, 2010

Sending out an Access database to be filled in by semi-random people, and trying to merge it all afterwards sounds like a nightmare. Try to use an on-line collaboration tool instead.

Note that with Google Docs, there's a "Forms" front-end that may help:

Basically, Forms helps standardize data entry into Google Docs Spreadsheets.

There's also Google Base, but that's probably more free-form that you want.

Wikipedia has a page on online collaborative tools:

Have you considered setting up a wiki? I suppose that might be a bit too free form, though.
posted by chengjih at 6:31 AM on January 14, 2010

I work with a MySQL database often and store the original data in a spreadsheet. It is pretty easy to export to csv and to import spreadsheet data into the database. For collaboration, it would be safer to use a Google Docs spreadsheet and import that into whatever database you are using.
posted by JJ86 at 6:35 AM on January 14, 2010

Why not Excel? If it's only a few hundred items it should be more than adequate...
posted by jckll at 6:46 AM on January 14, 2010

Freebase, despite the questionable name, is another online, design-your-own database option, though I think all data entered is publicly-available.
posted by yerfatma at 8:46 AM on January 14, 2010

Dabble DB? Free, if you're sharing your data; not free if you don't want it to be publicly available.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2010

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