In the beginning there was a single series of database tutorials on this site. Now there are two. Which one should you read?

If you’re looking for a nice, slow approach to learning databases, choose Databasics. It will help you learn the lingo, start with simple stuff, and eventually take on something a little more challenging. It’s a series in development, so you can munch on some new information, go away and put it to use, then come back in a month or so and try something new. It’s also a very practical series. In Databasics, although the techniques and general advice apply no matter which database product you use, you’ll find specific advanced examples feature Microsoft Access.

If, on the other hand, you want to dive right into the nitty gritty of database design, try the companion series of articles, Databases from Scratch. While there’s some overlap between the two series, Databases from Scratch moves onto advanced topics, such as relational database design, more rapidly and restricts its topic matter to design issues. Databasics wanders farther afield, and includes (or will eventually include) tutorials on queries, reports, forms design, application development as well as basic design principles.

If you want to get a handle on database terminology, take a look at my Database Dictionary.

I’ve written these two database series with average users in mind. If you’re looking for a more formal but still understandable approach to databases, I recommend the database design tutorial on It’s written by a Dutch bloke called Ruben who has helpfully provided an English version.