Introduction to Databases

Introduction: You are currently on Marc Grange's website.
This site is an update of my former site "".

The information on these pages is aimed at anyone who wants to apply and use database techniques. Various examples are taken from the field of Social Sciences, but the SQL language training and the database design method presented hereafter, relate to all the fields that imply an effective management of data.
As a practitioner, developer and teacher, I have been using and teaching databases and computer science for over 30 years.


Knowledge of database design, relational data model and SQL is essential in order to follow this presentation. For readers unfamiliar with these areas, please refer to the columns on these pages:

DB Design Basic concepts to design databases.
SQL SQL Interactive Learning.

For additional references, see the links section.


The purpose of the presentation is to introduce some interesting applications of databases in the field of humanities. The use of a data model to structure information, here the relational model, allows to work with SQL language for the extraction and production of relevant information relating to the studied field. This "generic" approach uses DBMS (DataBases Management Systems) properties to avoid developing specific apps. Four examples, linked to the humanities and social sciences, will be presented successively: 

- In Sociology : Processing of surveys
- In Demography : Relationships modelling
- In Psychology : Affinity relationships
- In Geography Networks modeling


Each example will go through the following steps:

  1. Presentation of the data in connection with the problem: construction of the data dictionary.
  2. Structuring of information: production of the data diagram.
  3. Presentation of queries representative of the area under investigation.
  4. Interactive processing of queries, on a "test" database, in SQL language.
Practical application

To put into practice and use, in a real system, the concepts of database design and use (SQL) presented in these pages, you can download the IBEasy+ (last release 3.1.1 April  2024) software. This database design and administration tool uses Firebird as RDBMS