SITS data
August 14, 2008 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Academic management database question. Probably too obscure for most!

At work at my University we use the labyrinthine software package known as SITS for student records. Does anyone know if there is an easy way to get data out of it into an Access database?

Context is that for course leaders to write reports they need data on entry by age, race, region, disability, gender, etc. etc. SITS outputs it - prints it really - but doesn't seem able to meaningfully integrate this stuff together - how many white male students with dyslexia doing joint English and History who failed, that sort of thing. In effect we have to do it with paper and pencil!

If anyone in the UK using SITS wants to a) join me in adding the H and calling it ShITS or b) wants to recommend a better alternative for the University, feel free!
posted by A189Nut to Education (8 answers total)
I don't know the software but I took a crack at Googling for this. I think this page might be the result of the University of Bristol trying to solve the same problem.
posted by XMLicious at 4:50 PM on August 14, 2008

If it can "print" all the information to a common format like CSV you could find a way to suck it into Access or another database package.
posted by meta_eli at 9:30 PM on August 14, 2008

Have you thought about contacting the vendor? This is a fairly common use case when it comes to reporting off SIS (student information systems) and I'm sure they've run into it before.

I could definitely recommend other products (DataTel, PeopleSoft, Banner) but (and no offence) this really doesn't sound like an enormous deal-breaker that would necessitate a multi-million dollar investment over the span of years.

You need a DBA (database administrator) who can work with you and/or the vendor to do what you're looking for.
posted by purephase at 5:40 AM on August 15, 2008

I don't have a good solution to your issue, but an Access database may not be the best solution as they have a maximum of 32,768 objects per database. So, if you have more students than that, you may have issues.

posted by singerdj at 6:44 AM on August 15, 2008

(in that University of Bristol page they explored a bunch of alternatives to Access too, like Crystal Reports.)
posted by XMLicious at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2008

Crystal Reports is not an Access alternative. It is a report generation tool that queries databases. You're alternatives to Access are MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, DB2, Oracle etc.
posted by purephase at 2:38 PM on August 15, 2008

Context is that for course leaders to write reports they need data on entry by age, race, region, disability, gender,

The only reason he's trying to get the data into Access is so that he can generate reports. So yeah, Crystal Reports may quite possibly be an alternative solution here. I wasn't saying that Crystal Reports is a database server.

It seems pretty likely that there's already a SQL database behind this SITS software (unless it's really, really old) and that's what you would run Crystal Reports against. Just exporting the data into a database server would not accomplish anything and would actually be redundant if SITS is already backed by a SQL database.
posted by XMLicious at 5:55 PM on August 15, 2008

(And anyways, Crystal Reports or some other reporting software, with or without a separate SQL database being necessary, is just as much an alternative to Microsoft Access as DataTel, PeopleSoft, and Banner are! ;^)
posted by XMLicious at 6:06 PM on August 15, 2008

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