Car Collections, Car Clubs and Databases
As noted on the main project page, one approach to organizing data is a traditional database. The Microsoft Access database program was used to create two trial databases, using Frazer Nash Car Club data (redacted) of members and Frazer Nash cars.
Frazer Nash and Car Club Registry Database
One database, "Car Club" (with some real and mostly filler data) or "FrazerNash" (real Club data, for Club members only), was designed to show all car club member and all owners, over time, of the prewar and postwar Frazer Nash cars. The data is contained in separate tables, with the relationships shown below by lines linking similar data elements in the tables.
One goal/feature of a relational database is to avoid duplication of data. The table structure above does not completely meet this goal, but can be further improved.
The "FN-Cars History" table above is a "junction table" which forms a "many-to-many" relationship between club members/owners and the Frazer Nash cars. Any person can be shown to have owned many cars over time and any car can be queried to show its current and previous owners. That is, after all the data is entered!
In the current Access database, not all these tables are used. For example, the "CountyStates" table has all counties in England, states in the US and districts in Australia and Canada, intended to be a "lookup" for better uniformity and efficiency, but this function is not yet used.
Currently, either of databases can produce on screen or printed reports to show all the Club members and their cars or all the Frazer Nash cars, with their owners (which includes Club members) over time. The data currently available produces good results, but the research and data-entry stage needed for all cars and owners is a large task for dedicated Club members. This database can be expanded to perform all traditional car club tasks - member information, event planning, mail lists, etc.
The opening screen of the Frazer Nash Car Club database looks like this:
If you select "View Cars and Owners" from this menu screen, you will get a traditional database form:
The data elements can be updated or added in this form. To be added next is a search for a particular record. Much more interesting is the menu choice "View/print List of Cars and All Owners Over Time" which gives this table that can be viewed or printed:
Improving this database by adding queries, forms and reports to the main menu - or sub-menus - will continue. However, both of these databases should be viewed as "roadmaps" for thought and future work - by others!
Car Collections Database
The same database techniques were adapted to organizing the inventory and basic data on individual autos in a single car collection, foreseeing a need to record basic data over several collections or museums.
As above, this database can be searched for a make or model of car over all the collections and provide a history, both on-screen and printed, of any car showing previous owners (which may also be a "collection").
These databases were created by me, truly not a database developer, using Access 2000, a old version. They are intended as starting points or inspirations for a club, organization or developer to help better preserving automotive history. However, the real value of any database is the actual data. By providing a structured - and perhaps collaborative - method to record this data, research should be encouraged and history better preserved.
Future work on this should consider:
The Sample Databases Disk
If you would like copies of these Access databases, send me an email with your address and I'll send you a CD. If you send me $2 for postage in return, it would be appreciated.
Email me with any questions! Bob Schmitt, email@example.com
December 2, 2011
Reviewed November 23, 2015