Regardless of the complexity or type of database, these four principles hold true.
- Databases do not save time. Often they create more work. What databases allow you to do is access information in a more complex and efficient manner.
- Collect what you need and not necessarily what you want. All information should be treated as important. If it’s not, then it is difficult to maintain data quality.
- Databases are only as good as the information that is put into them. Inputting clean data is much simpler than finding and cleaning dirty data after it has been entered.
- If staff are not trained on how to input and retrieve data, then they cannot properly use the database. Where training is not possible (i.e., you are collecting information from the public) you must instead control and limit what is entered into the database.