Storing Information.

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Essex Corcaigh
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Storing Information.

Post by Essex Corcaigh » Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:14 am

:mrgreen:

Hello again,

Once again, I'm looking to pick your brains, this time concerning keeping information in one place.

I know that a large number of you are constantly researching individual footballers and updating their information. How do you do it ? What I'm looking for is a programme for my computer where I can call up an individual footballer, update the information i have on him and then return him to my database for future reference or updating. Also, if I acquire new information on a new footballer, I can open a blank page and start a biography.

This may be very easy to a lot of you, in fact, it's probably second nature, but it's something where I wouldn't have a clue about where to start looking for this type of programme. I'd rather be able to do it this way than have hundreds of sheets of A4 in binders that have lots of little notes on them and that are easy to steal. Which happened the last time I did this research !

Any help would be very gratefully accepted !

:mrgreen:
There are those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish !

Aten
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Aten » Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:11 pm

It really depends on how extensive your requirements are and whether you have any database building knowledge. There are many “simple” database models available on the Internet as freeware/shareware that may serve your purposes. If you have some experience then a more sophisticated commercial database might be worthwhile.

Personally I use Microsoft Access for storing all my information but I would not recommend that model to a first timer unless you have some basic programming knowledge/experience.

If you are going to build your database around a set of fixed fields that are more or less going to set definitively then freeware/shareware might be your best bet.

Scottish
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Scottish » Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:53 pm

Essex Corcaigh wrote::mrgreen:


This may be very easy to a lot of you, in fact, it's probably second nature

:mrgreen:
Not for me it isn't. My formal computer knowledge runs to an NVQ Level Three from the days when you could cook your dinner faster than a web page loaded - and I don't mean in the microwave either.

One thing I have to keep constantly updated is my A-Z of managers. How I do it is two-fold. First, there is the text file (Word) I use for the book. This is in a simple A-Z format. When an existing manager is sacked (most recent example Tommy Craig) I simply put Craig, T into the search box. That brings up Craig, Tom 'Tully', Falkirk boss 1935-1950 but obviously the Tommy Craig I'm looking for is right underneath him. I review what I have written and add the date of his sacking and a brief sentence outlining the reasons for his dismissal.

To make a new entry (most recent example Ian Baraclough of Motherwell) I either do the same as before (which only works if the manager in question has previously managed a Scottish club and in this instance isn't the case) or I create a new entry. If I know I have a manager in the file with an alphabetically close name then it's easy to find the place to create the right alphabetical place. In this particular instance I know that Marcio Maximo Barcellos coached Livingston about a decade or so ago so searching for Barcellos, M brings him up. The entry above him is Eamonn Bannon (written as Bannon, E) so Baraclough fits neatly between them.

If I don't know of such a manager then I have four other options. First a search for the same surname. In this case it doesn't apply at all. Or I can search for the same forename. In this case not recommended as words such as 'HibernIAN' or 'AllIANce' will come up. I can search for the team name. In this case as the manager's name starts with a 'B' it doesn't take long to find but if Motherwell had appointed someone called Wilson it would take a long time as the word 'Motherwell' appears 358 times in the file! In a case like that I find it easier to stroll down to the letter heading. (being an A-Z, each new letter appears in big, bold 24-point type) and scroll down from there to find the right place to insert details of the new boss.

BTW Craig, T for instance is a lot easier to find than just 'Craig' or even 'Tommy Craig' as those words can and often do appear in the text in places other than the entry headings. This is important to bear in mind if you are adding/creating details of players.

For keeping the chronological details of all managers up to date and to permit new information to be added, I have two spreadsheets (Excel). They both have the following headings. Surname, first name, club, start date, end date (left blank if still in situ), year born, year died (see end date), other. This last allows me to enter details such as trophy wins, where the manager in question was before his current position, if indeed anywhere, who was the caretaker prior to this particular manager taking over etc.

I simply make an entry as and when a vacancy arises/is filled. At the end of the season I compare the new spreadsheet details with the text file and amend/include as appropriate. I then paste the season just finished details into the 'master' spreadsheet to make it complete to the end of that season.

So far this season I have eleven new entries in total, six outgoing, five incoming. The imbalance is due to St Mirren having not yet appointed a replacement for Craig.

The importance of keeping things up to date like this can be seen from my 2013-14 entries which consisted of forty-five entries with twenty.one of these having additional notes.

As I say, I'm no programmer but I find this an easy and not too time-consuming way to keep things up to date and at the same time to be able to add more information as it becomes available. It's easy to do. It must be because my software is all in Spanish!

Aten
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Aten » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:00 am

Sounds to me David, you could save yourself some time and effort using Access to store your information on managers. If you already have Word and Excel, as far as I am aware Access is still part of the Office suite of software. It would certainly make interrogating the database a lot simpler.

For example, by uniquely indexing by manager name, this would allow you to query and see at a glance what clubs they managed. Similarly by indexing the club name (in this case not uniquely) you could run a query that would tell you who managed that club down the years. This would cut down on searching and allow you to enter a new manager as a new record without having to search as to where to put it since the name is indexed it would automatically be slotted in alphabetically. Updating manager information would be just as simple; running a query on the name would bring up the record.

And it does not have to stop there. You could have a table containing all the person’s managerial details and another table within the database containing a clubs results. By linking the two tables this would allow you to run a query that gives you his record at that club. The only concern you would have is maintaining the database to be as accurate as possible then let the software interrogate the database to whatever you ask it to do, many of which are menu driven anyway. Just remember the golden rule of data entry – GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

At the end of the day, however, it’s whatever you are comfortable with and if your system has served you well down the years then who am I to tell you different. It just seems to me, from what you have described, a dedicated database would make things simpler.

bobby s
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by bobby s » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:58 am

Aten wrote:Sounds to me David, you could save yourself some time and effort using Access to store your information on managers. If you already have Word and Excel, as far as I am aware Access is still part of the Office suite of software. It would certainly make interrogating the database a lot simpler.
I don't think you can get Access for a mac?

I use ever increasingly complex Excel spreadsheets…any suggestions for a mac database alternative?
It's the Hope I can't stand

Scottish
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Scottish » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:46 pm

Aten wrote: At the end of the day, however, it’s whatever you are comfortable with and if your system has served you well down the years then who am I to tell you different. It just seems to me, from what you have described, a dedicated database would make things simpler.
As Bobby says, Access is - ahem - inaccessible on a Mac. I have a number of issues with databasing - first and foremost not having done any for around 17-18 years. And there is no saving on time spent inputting the original information and that's the biggest task of all. As you say (and I do appreciate your points) it's what you're comfortable with. I doubt also if running a database query is any faster than entering a name and hitting search and getting the same information. For clubs I have separate files for all competitions, except Europe which is one file per club though with the different competitions clearly denoted.

Yes, by updating annually to the managers file it means it is slightly out of date but it's always going to be out of date anyway. The moment the first managerial change is made after publication renders a book out of date - but not obsolete. Making annual alterations also allows me to market anew. And that's another thing. Whether it's a database or a spreadsheet organised simply by headers, the text file always has to be open at the same time and it's not just a simple case of adding new information to that.

First, there's space to consider. The A-Z runs to nearly 740 pages which is the maximum paperback level I can use and I don't want to go up to a more expensive hardback. So for every sentence added there has to be a deletion somewhere else. Those additions and deletions also have to maintain consistency in chapter headings (in this case the letters of the alphabet plus Mc). Every chapter has to open on a new page. It looks plain ugly otherwise. Sometimes just adding a single word will cause a line change which in turn will cause a page break and I end up with a precious page containing only a line or two of text and thus being "wasted." Obviously it's impossible to align every page perfectly and there will be white space at the end of a chapter but when every page counts it's best to use up as much as possible.

Of course additions and deletions also have to maintain general cohesion of each entry affected. The McCoist situation will need much greater space devoted to it than, say, a League Two sacking. But at the same time I have to ensure that the bulk of the entry on the former doesn't consist almost entirely of his leaving while at the same time explaining it clearly.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I need the text file in front of me and that can only be edited in person and with great care. One difference between the text file and the spreadsheets is that while I update the latter annually then simply sort alphabetically, I amend the text as and when a change occurs. This makes it a lot easier to keep on top of things and maintain the structure. To update a spreadsheet at the end of a season is simply copy, paste, sort. To introduce forty-odd changes to the text at the same time would be a nightmare.

Essex Corcaigh
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Essex Corcaigh » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:45 am

:mrgreen:

Can I say thank you to all contributors on this topic. I'm going to try all of your suggestions and see which one can do the job for me. You've all been very helpful.

:mrgreen:
There are those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish !

Sat31March1928
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Sat31March1928 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:51 am

I use excel as my source data which is then fed into a SQL server database.

However I do a lot of checks in excel

Things to look out for

You want to make each row unique on 1 or more columns.

Do you have dates prior to 1900?
Excel doesn't cater for these. So rather than use the 'native' date format.
I use individually
CCYY - Century Year
MM - Month
DD - Day

Then use a formula to combine them into a value for displaying.

If you are recording details of matches beware of the 2 matches played on same day.
In addition to the 'date' I use a sequence number with a default of 1. If there is another game played on the same day by a club set the sequence number to 2.

Uniquely identifying 'people'.
Obviously there will be people with the same name as players, managers, referees etc
So you need to distinguish them uniquely

So Hearts have had two William Waugh

I identify them as

William Waugh [1] 1901-02
William Waugh [2] 1928-29

Career Histories
Often you don't know some dates of a particular event in a career
So use a sequence number again to order the history in the correct order

Recording times of events in matches.
Something I wish I had done when I had started.
A football match does not last 90 minutes!
I just record the time. When I should have recorded
the 'time period' AND the 'time'

You could use
1 - 47 to represent a goal scored 2 minutes into added on time in 1st half
2 - 47 to represent a goal scored 2 minutes into the 2nd half
2 - 92 to represent a goal scored 2 minutes into added on time in 2nd half
3 - 92 to represent a goal scored 2 minutes into 1st period of extra time

Something I have down though for goals is assign a scoreorder to them.
So even if you don't know the time of the goal you know the 'order' the goal was scored in

If the scorer isn't known I assign 'unknown' to the name. As more resources come online you can fill in the blanks. I've found over 100 'missing' scorers in Hearts games over the past year.

I'll post some more tips up later.
Jackson; James; Jackson; James; Jackson

Essex Corcaigh
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Re: Storing Information.

Post by Essex Corcaigh » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:31 am

:mrgreen:

Again, that's a great help to me. Thank you !

:mrgreen:
There are those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish !

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