A database hasn’t changed much since the days of Microsoft Access.
No matter how big or complicated a database gets, its always going to be, essentially, a large spreadsheet with a series of rows and columns. So when you sign an online petition for your favorite cause, fill out your name, email address, and whatever else they ask, that information ends up as an entry on a spreadsheet.
The longest standing issue for me (and I am certain many others) is that a database is only as good as the person entering the data. In the case of many online petitions and sign up forms, the person entering the information into the database is the person actually signing the petition.
If the data is inputed incorrectly, someone has to go row-by-row and column-by-column to fix the data. So for everyone out there who wants a database manager to love you (who doesn’t!) and wants their favorite non-profit to spend more time campaigning and less time cleaning up a database, please DO NOT do the following:
1. Add your name twice to the same email petition.
2. Input your information in ALL CAPS.
3. Make up a funny name, instead of your own (it gets deleted)
4. Put your organization’s name, instead of your own name (it gets deleted)
5. Use an initial for your first name, instead of your full name (will likely be deleted)
Follow these simple rules and the world (for a database manager) will be a slightly better place!