The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) operates an online research training website called History SPOT. This website includes a wide range of digital research training packages for historians.

One of the courses available on the History Spot is Designing Databases for Historical Research.

Written in a handbook format by an IHR database expert, Dr Mark Merry, the course is meant as a theoretical starting point aimed specifically at historians. The module can be accessed after a quick registration here.

The module looks at the theory behind using databases rather than showing you how to build them. It is very much a starting point, a place to go to before embarking on the lengthy time that databases require of their creators. Is your historical data appropriate for database use or should a different piece of software be used? What things should you consider before starting the database? Getting it right from the very beginning does save you a lot of time and frustration later on.

If you are interested in the online modules or general courses offered by the IHR, you can browse their exhaustive catalogue of resources on this website. To find out more about History SPOT, please visit their blog.