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help MS ACCESS\SAS, general database questions

P: n/a
Hi to all,
I need some help deciding on the best database system for our
specific application.
OPTIONAL INFO: We currently have 2 separate projects that need to be
updated from dos-based dBase. I'll only describe one of these but the
other is comparable in size. The project currently has about 32
files. The 2 largest are about 30,000 records and 5 columns include
data from the last 30 years. The other 30 files are created by year
and are about 1000 records and 10 columns. There are only 2 or 3
people keying in data, never at the same time. We also have a sonic
digitizer (measures distance between age rings on fish scales) from
which data is fed into the dBase form. I think the data transfer
program is written in C and the dBase form is written in Clipper. We
currently have MS Access and SAS. My suggestion was to design the
same type of user entry forms in MS Access and place the files on a
shared drive on our network server (already in place and routinely
backed up). If the amount of data or number of users increased we
could consider going to a database server with Access as the "front
end." Most of the analysis is performed in SAS which can readily
import Access tables.
I was met with some opposition:
There was a strong objection to using ODBC to get data into SAS (when
discussing database servers). Does SAS Import wizard use ODBC? Are
there inherent problems with ODBC? Is there any advantage to having
data analyzed in SAS in SAS data sets? Any problems adding a database
server in the future?
Some of the work creating the SAS data entry forms is already
completed (by someone outside our agency who is unavailable now). I
did not know SAS even had database software until I started on this
project. I currently have used SAS only for statistics and have only
the intro. Programming course. What SAS training would I need to get
up to speed on creating forms and managing this type of database? The
SAS packages we currently have are: STAT, AF, ETS, IML, SHARE GIS,
need to purchase other packages to use SAS as our database software?

The last piece of advice given to me at the meeting was "keep it
simple." Obviously I am not a database administrator (nor am I paid
like one). I am an entry level biologist that has used MS Access to
manage a desktop database. I don't mind learning the SAS database
system if it provides a better solution. OR IS THERE A BETTER
SOLUTION OUT THERE? Should we consider hiring a consultant?
I am posting this to both the SAS and ACCESS user groups to get the
range of responses.
Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post,

Nov 12 '05 #1
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