Class Session: Wednesday Dec 31, 1969

Access: Relational Database Management Systems

Preparations for this Session

Read this

In Access 2007: The Missing Manual, 1st Edition,
read 1. Creating Your First Database.

It wouldn't hurt to read

If you use a Mac, you have two choices to be able to use Access

Best choice: bootcamp

Good choice: virtual server support

NEW! Video: Virtual Lab for Mac Users (6:22 minutes) This will walk Mac Users through the process of using Virtual Labs for the Access Project. You will notice that the virtual lab connections will not go as fast for you as they do in the video. (The lag wait times have been edited out of the video.)

The first time you save, do not just save! The default save will save the file in a temporary virtual folder that will be erased after you close the program. Instead, Do a save as and follow the instructions in the video on how to navigate to your computer hard drive.

Here is the official UNC ITS NOTICE: When opening or saving a file within your virtual application, the Documents folder listed is NOT the Documents folder on your home drive, but the virtual application Documents folder. ITS Labs recommends not saving any work to this folder, as all files saved in this folder will be erased 15 minutes after the application is closed. More info at UNC ITS:Where can I save my work in Virtual Lab?

Read more info at the lab page. Pick one choice and be ready with it by the next class session.

top/reload prep panel



A database is a collection of related data in multiple tables.

A database management system (DBMS) is designed to add, delete, and update, data in the database and to provide various ways to view on screen or in print the data. A flat file database is contained in a single table as in Excel. (You may encounter the term CRUD, which stands for Create, read, update and delete.)

Relational database are used to eliminate redundancy in storage. Relational databases make it much easier to distribute data to multiple locations. However, those responsible for a particular table, or portion of the database, must ensure that they do not alter the data in a way that breaks the relational systems.

In summary, a relational database will have multiple tables, possibly maintained in multiple locations. The relationship between these tables are carefully defined so that the entire database works together.

Entity Relationship Model of a Database

An entity-relationship model (ERM) is an abstract and conceptual representation of data. Entity-relationship modeling is a database modeling method, used to produce a type of conceptual schema or semantic data model of a system, often a relational database, and its requirements in a top-down fashion. Diagrams created by this process are called entity-relationship diagrams (or ER diagrams). Dedicated database classes in the School of Information and Library Science teach these models in more depth; you will be required to actually draw these out and make them. In this class, we will briefly introduce the model, but you will not necessarily need to fully grasp the theory to successfully use database systems. For example, in the introduction to Access on, there is not even a mention of the entity-relationship model.

Here is a youtube video on ER diagrams that you might find helpful. (In this tutorial the instructor uses an example in which a book has one and only one author. That is not the case with our project; our books can have multiple authors, so we will need to use a connection table.)

Access Introduction

Mac Users

If you are using a Mac, you will need to set up a way to run Access. If you chose not to install virtualization software or the ITS Virtual Lab system, you will need to use campus Windows machines for your tasks. you are also free to use the computers in room 117 if there is not a class in progress.

All Users Using Campus Windows Systems

Regardless of your operating system, you will need to save your work to a flash drive or to your OneDrive as the computers in the 117 lab are wiped every night.


In this session will demonstrate the following steps:

  1. Start Access
  2. Create a new database; discuss naming conventions
  3. Discuss the concept of Objects:
    1. Tables
    2. Queries
    3. Forms
    4. Reports
  4. Create a Table and set some Table Properties
  5. Discuss fields and field properties
  6. Create some fields and set properties
  7. Discuss Primary keys and Foreign Keys
  8. Generate a Query and view the resultant SQL
  9. Create a Form
  10. Create a Report

Intro Slideshow

Intro Example Database

This demonstration will just give you an overview of the program. Before you start plugging in real data for any personal database project, you should first make a plan.

Plan the Database First

  1. Determine the need or purpose of the database
  2. Decide which kinds of things (the tables) the database should include
  3. Specify the fields that comprise the tables and determine which fields in each table contain unique values
  4. Decide how the tables are related to each other, then review and finalize the design
  5. Construct and relate the tables and populate the database with sample data
  6. Create forms, queries, and reports to use with the data

Access Database Design Help from Microsoft

Quick links

opal login: ssh
opal password: ONYEN password


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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