Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1267499918

From: "Bart O'Toole" <>
Subject: [DNA] dbms v. spreadsheet
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2010 21:18:38 -0600
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>


here are my comments - it gets confusing replying to replies to replies

1. With respect to to your asking why a project administrator needs
dbms - my question is what are you looking to get out of the data in
your project? If you are working a Surname project, then a spreadsheet
will probably suffice. If you are doing a Haplotype/Haplogroup project,
a spreadsheet may not be the proper vehicle. And what are the intents
of the data usage? It goes back to what the project administrator is
looking for. I do not differentiate between Access or SQL - they are
both database as opposed to spreadsheets. It's the scale of the project
that determines the tool. And depending upon the size of the project, a
spreadsheet may be the appropriate tool.

2. With respect to Mike's spreadsheet - which is 'unbelievable' not
'believable' -> so much for spell checking. His spreadsheet is amazing,
my comments are that his product seems to be approaching the bounds of
what a spreadsheet can produce.

3. Excel vs. Access - it goes back to what you want to accomplish. I
used to program in Powerbuilder - a customized dbms program can do
amazing things. Spreadsheets can do many of those things, but not all.
Honestly, when I got into researching my particular DNA strain, I
started writing a Visual Basic Program. However, my research to this
point is more simple data tracking, not data manipulation, so I have
been using spreadsheets. If I decide to get more complex, I'm back to

---- My initial comment/philosophy stands - a project administrator does
not need to know data manipulation, but I do think that a project
administrator of a large project should have resources to provide that


Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 09:17:38 -0500
From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen"<>
Subject: [DNA] dbms v. spreadsheet
Content-Type: text/plain;charset="us-ascii"

> -----Original Message-----

> > From: On Behalf Of Bart O'Toole
> > Sent: Sunday, February 28, 2010 6:20 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: [DNA] Call to participants in ALL
> > geographicandhaplogroupprojects: fill in your ancestry
> >
> > While a DNA project administrator may not require knowledge
> > of data base manipulation, a DNA project administrator with
> > a large project should have access to someone who knows
> > how to work with the data.
Why? As a project admin, what am I going to do with the data that requires a
dbms? Even if you decide to use a dbms, you don't need to go so far as to learn
SQL. If you can learn to use Excel, you can learn to use Access or some other
dbms that doesn't have remotely the learning curve.

> > Spreadsheets can only work with so much data - Mike Walsh has done an
> > believable job with his spreadsheet, but eventually his
> > spreadsheet will max out.
I haven't seen Mike Walsh's spreadsheet, so I can't comment on it. As far as
being a project admin at FTDNA, I see no project remotely reaching a size that
Excel can't handle (viz., 256 columns x 64K rows). If someone is data mining
the online DNA databases and doing research on vast quantities of data, that's
another issue. What we're talking about here is the needs of FTDNA project

> > I used to do a lot of data base programming, so on this issue,
> > I know what I am talking about with spreadsheets and data bases.
So do I. The main reason most people are using Excel for their projects is that
it comes with Microsoft Office, while Access only comes with Microsoft Office
Pro, a more expensive package. They end up using Excel as their database
manager, not realizing database management isn't its purpose. However, for the
simple needs of most project admins, it does all they need to do.

So, coming full circle here, what is it that a project admin would need to do
that couldn't be done with Excel?

> > This is the first time I've responded to a message from a
> > digest, so I hope it comes out properly.
You did fine. The important thing is to delete the other messages, and you did.


> >
> > Bart O'Toole
>> > > Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 22:01:11 -0500
>> > > From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen"<>
>> > > Subject: Re: [DNA] Call to participants in ALL
>> > > geographicandhaplogroupprojects: fill in your ancestry
>> > > To:<>
>> > > Message-ID:<7201D9D119F14587BE8CD8E81C69200B@HP>
>> > > Content-Type: text/plain;charset="us-ascii"
>> > >
>> > > SQL is a computer database query/maintenance language. I
>> > > can think of no reason why a DNA project admin would have
>> > > to know how to use it.
>> > >
>> > > Diana
>> > >

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