Unexpected Databases

This is not your parents' data.

If you thought that databases were all full of boring numbers and dry data, you couldn't be more wrong! Databases can be, and are, used to manage and track all sorts of interesting things. Some of them are practical, while others might be silly or entertaining.

For instance, college student Maria Rose Belding is using databases to better manage food pantries and their resources. Maria Carrasco reports on Ms. Belding's achievements in this USA Today article. If food's not your thing, maybe a database tracking tattoo designs is more to your liking. This article from Kitty Knowles explores a growing new business based in Sweden. Inkbay uses database technology to match up tattoo artists with prospective customers. Tattoo artists upload their artwork into the database and potential clients can search for designs or artists to find the tattoo that appeals to them.

Supporting Web Links

Discussion Questions/Activities
  1. Consider exploring one or more of the databases highlighted in the article or in the Supporting Web Links section with the class. This could be an interesting way to open a discussion about the ways databases are created and managed, as well as career opportunities in the field.
  2. Divide the class into small groups. Ask each group to brainstorm and identify something that could be tracked and quantified by using a database. Encourage students to be creative and ask the groups to share their idea with the class.
  3. As an individual project, ask student to find a recent article about an interesting database. Students should write a brief synopsis of the article and include their thoughts about it too.

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