From MissionTechWiki

The Wikipedia Database article gives a good overview of what a database is. Basically a database is used to manage data, preferably in a way that minimises problems in maintaining the information and maximises its use.


Missions make use of database in a variety of ways. Some of these include

  • Donor Management - a core business function for home/sending mission offices.
  • Contact Management is a related function, but relates to maintaining contact with others who may not be donors, such as prospective missionaries. For workers on the field this may include members of churches etc.
  • Research - for example, into language groups, people groups etc.
  • Training Management
  • Product databases - many organisations have resources that they need to track
  • Enterprise Resource Planning - Missions generally correspond to a service organisation and have many of the same business issues as a service business. A few of them are actually closer to product based business if their focus is to produce resources.
  • ContentManagementSystems (CMS) are use for web sites and intranets
  • Event Management for conferences etc
  • Disaster Management Systems for those organisation involved in disaster relief.
  • Broadcast Mananagement Systems - used by radio missions to manage broadcasts etc.
  • Issue Tracking - used by helpdesks etc

Database Management Systems DBMS

Microsoft Access is widely used, especially for ad-hoc databases. It has the benefit of being widely available, but this is also its downfall, since too many untrained people develop databases! As well as being a database it also allows you to create forms for entering data, reports for displaying it, and to program entire applications, using Visual Basic.

Open Office also has a database component, which may start to take over the role of Access, since it is much cheaper (free).

MySQL is a popular open source (and free) relational database. It is very prevalent in the web hosting area. On websites it usually used with some sort of language to provide the web pages, such as PHP or Perl.

SQLServer is Microsoft's high end database. Microsoft provide a cut down, free, version of it called SQL Server Express Edition.

Oracle is another leading high end database and its cut-down free version is called Oracle Express Edition.

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