In this case, one book would be duplicated, and duplication is
usually a bad idea.
It would be better to put all the books into a single Books table.
I'm here to learn so I'll take your advice and do a single table.
Then if I set up some kind of a report that told me the next book in
the series, when I query "Harry Potter" it would give me "Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (and possibly list all other books
in the series that are not yet read, or list all books in the series,
highlight the ones that are unread, or some such thing)
This can still be done if they are all in a Books table.
What I don't want is my main table to include both read and "want to
read" books - I like keeping the "what I've read" completely separate
as this is what I'm most interested in for tracking purposes (to meet
my goal) and what not.
Well, this is a big deal in a spreadsheet, where all that data is just
smooshed together and you have trouble visually separating it, but in a
database this isn't actually a problem. By design, tables are meant to
hold lots of data like this, and you query just the data you want at
any given time. It is better to design it as one big table, and pull
out only the data you want to see, than to separate it into multiple
tables that hold duplicate data. With duplicate data you are not only
wasting storage space (perhaps very little in this case, but in
principle a bad thing), but also bringing in the possibility of that
data differing in the different locations in which it is stored,
and then which copy do you trust?
So questions (again thank you much for your guidance, I'm definitely
starting the process tonight):
when I make the form to enter new data (ie. a new read book) can it be
designed to where it searches the current books in Books table and then if,
and only if, it doesn't find a match (based on author + book title), it
starts a new form for me to enter new data?
For a series, is there a way for me to do like "enter a series" and then
it would prompt ("how many books in this series") and when I put in 5, it
would then auto fill author + series name, so all I have to do is enter
book titles for the 5 books and all 5 would be added to the Books table?
Reading books twice - I don't do this often, but when I do, I expect the
pages to count twice. Best way to accomplish this is to have another field
called "Count" and then page count would be Page Count * Count (# of times
I'm getting excited about this as I've come up with another cool idea that
might be easy. I'm going to link books to the library, so for "next book in
series" would be a link that I could click and easily put on hold at the
library :) I think that this would be both awesome and relatively easy
(assuming the library has a standard method of searching which I suspect it
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