Otlet can be considered a pioneer in the field of databases. He aimed to gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it.
The 'Mundaneum' is considered a milestone in the history of databases and also as a little-known antecedent to the Internet. Otlet's epic vision deserves to be better known. Introduce students to Paul Otlet's amazing utopian vision for his Mundaneum.
Note: Parts of the Mundaneum have been preserved as a museum in a converted department store in Mons in Belgium.
Databases are easily the most pervasive and widely used of computer-based applications. They touch our lives each day, yet few know how to create one.
In this lesson, students design, build and evaluate their own database and perform queries and build reports based on it.
The first prerequisite in any discussion of the social implications of databases is an understanding of how one is designed and used and what a database can do. The second is to appreciate the often unforeseen and unintended results of the aggregation of databases.
What would be the best method for you to use if you wished to gather data on everyone in this class? Try using the pose, pause, pounce, bounce method here to ensure maximum focus and participation.
It may be useful for learners to create a graphic organiser to compare and contrast some of the various methods for collecting data.
It is desirable that students are proficient at designing and populating a relational database. However, you should ensure all students are at least proficient at creating a flat file database.
Discuss with students the design requirements for the following task:
Design a database which will enable the members of your class to enter school and personal particulars.
It may be effective to model this thinking out loud with learners so they can share and make visible their thinking, creating a database as you go, exploring the pitfalls and possibilities and ensuring an agreed approach.
Ask students to design a database to satisfy requirements emerging from the class discussion (with teacher assistance).
The main table for the database must include the following information:
Show students how to query databases and produce reports.
Queries are far more useful than simple searches on a table. A search is able to help you find the name of a person, but a query could find every person who likes maths, is female and plays soccer. A well-designed query can deliver information you might not be able to find just by looking through your tables.
Ask students to produce queries and reports using their own populated databases to answer the following: