Can anyone help out with a simple RDBMS project?

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    I’M SICK OF SPREADSHEETS. For my master’s thesis I’m dealing with a ton of data that is spread out in a number of locations. I’m hoping someone has a few minutes to chat about the possibility of developing a relational database to manage the info. I’m quite green in this topic, and any assistance as far as direction would be appreciated.

    Work previously done on the study includes capturing and banding birds (so each bird will have a band#, which could serve as a unique identifier for the individual). Associated to the band number will be the captures for the bird (each being a discrete event, often more than one, which will have occurred on a particular date). For each capture event there will usually be a feather taken from the bird, and each feather will have multiple entries for colour data generated by a scanning spectrometer, as well as chemical analysis data for a number of different pigments found in the feather (which were determined by HPLC). My piece of the project is getting the chemical data in the lab, and analyzing it WRT the rest of the collected data. There are also a number of other data fields (which may not all be populated for each individual) for things like reproductive success variables, habitat quality, age, testosterone data, stable isotope data, etc.

    I want to get all of this data into a single place with the ability to query it in a number of ways, instead of having to wade through the 5-8 spreadsheets that currently contain this mixture of info. If anyone has experience with implementing a RDBMS system, and a couple minutes to sit down and chat about this I would be very thankful. Beers or coffees on me.

  • For the next 1.5 hours, you can get the book “MySQL for Python” for free from:

  • You’re on the right path Kile. I’ll find a bit of time to help out if you like.

    If you ever have the free time to do it, try to audit Mila’s Data Mining course. It’ll change your life to be able to pull roll-up reports out of archival databases. It’ll also teach you a level of contempt for attempts to use a spreadsheet as a database though… Right up alongside using mercury as a laxative (actual medical practice at one point…)

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    @dhylands, thanks for the link, I grabbed the book. I don’t mind doing some background work to figure it out, but @pierre I would love to sit down and chat about some of the basics and figure out what I need to learn to make it work (and what I can avoid spending time on).

  • @pierre said:

    audit Mila’s Data Mining course

    Do you know where to find this? I’d be interested at taking a look too.

  • Dr. Mila Kwiatkowska teaches the 4th year data mining course at TRU. I want to say it was COMP-4620 but I’m not sure. I would not take a database course there with anyone else… They might be good, but Mila is the single most skillful database professional I have ever met, in school or on the job. I learned a lot of very useful things from her, and only wish I’d had more courses with her. And she sometimes bakes cookies.

    I’ll email her and see if she is teaching it any time soon, and if they’d waive the rather brutal pre-reqs if you just want to audit for no credit. Worst case you could probably just buy the textbook (or I’ll lend you mine when Hammer is done with it…) and sit in the back of the lectures and see how much you can absorb. She’s not mean like Kevin… He’d single you out to answer questions every ten seconds.

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    @pierre, thanks that would be great. The way the fee structure is at TRU for the MSc program, I could also do a 5480 directed study course with Mila, if she had time, and she would get credit for instructing another full course, but I would still pay the same rate for tuition. If she is open to it an intro would be great.

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