Database Services

Information Technology Services has a Database Services group that develops
departmental databases. Our databases are Web-based, which means that the
database itself resides on one of our departmental UNIX servers but can be
accessed from anywhere using a standard Web browser.

Contact Us

To have one of our database team members contact you about creating a
database, please send us an email:

Defining Your Project

Here are some questions that we'll work with you on answering. If you know
the answers to some of these already it would be useful to include that
information in your email, along with any other background that you feel would
be useful for our discussion.

  • What is the title of the project for which you need a database?
  • What are the objectives of the project?
  • Who's sponsoring the project?
  • Who are the project's primary stakeholders?
  • Who will be the project manager?
  • Who will be the technical contact?
  • What is the project's estimated timeline?
  • How long will this project last?
  • How will the project be funded?
  • Is collection of data for this project already being done in another way?
    If so, how?
  • Is data collection for this project related to data collection for any
    others that you're aware of?

Our Approach to Building Databases

All our department databases are built using open source tools that you'll
sometimes hear referred to as "LAMP" tools:

L: Linux servers that house the database and Web server
A: Apache Web server
M: MySQL database management system
P: PHP or Perl programming language used to implement the database

This server-based approach has many advantages. No data resides on your
desktop, nor are there desktop database programs that need to be updated. The
departmental UNIX servers are backed up to tape at the end of every work day
and a copy of the backups is taken to a secure offsite location every week.
Network traffic between the UNIX server and your desktop Web browser is
encrypted, so the connection between the two is secure. Further security is
provided by a two-step authentication process: your DFM login and password are
required to access a database, and you must additionally have been authorized
to get to a specific database. Further levels of access control are possible,
for instance the ability for an individual user or group of users to update
versus only read the contents of a database, or to only see part of a larger
database. Multiple people can access and update a single database at the same
time from their respective desktops.

Other Database Technologies

In order to provide you with the best service we concentrate our efforts on our core "LAMP" technologies. As a result we do not support or develop databases using other technologies such as Microsoft Access.