Once your documents, photographs, music or video files are archived, you have a choice of usage options depending on the archiving level accomplished. In the basic level, Documents and media files can be stored on the computer file system (after digitizing and processing), with the besic tags allowed as part of image, audio and video files, and that’s all. You may then use the operating system (such as Windows of Mac) search capabilities to locate the media files, and sometimes terms inside text files. You would need to know your way around the file system though, and acquire some computer skills above the level of the casual user.
But even that isn’t practical when managing thousands and more items, since you have to keep some logic of filing in folders and remember where each item was saved in order to locate it. Searching the whole system for terms in text files isn’t practical at all, since it’s very resource consuming and can be VERY slow.
A database management system (DBMS) is the software solution that will do the filing and retrieving for you. Once your data is digitized, processed and basically ready to archive, it’s imported into a DBMS in a fairly automatic process. There are two main kinds of DBMS you can choose from, depending on your intended use of your data, and a third one, which is a combination of the first two.
|Desktop: Desktop (or portable) computer use, means you have access to your data wherever you have access to your physical computer. No need for Internet access, and for some, that’s the safest way to protect your data from prying eyes. This way you can take your computer with you and have all your archives at your disposal all the time. Your data is safe as long as your computer is in safe hands.|
|Online: Online DBMS is managed on a host computer, which is a remote machine operated by an Internet Hosting company. You load your data through a management system on your computer, and have access to it as long as you keep your hosting account alive. Then you can access your data from any computer that has Internet access, using your personal login name and password. Your data is as safe as the hosting company’s security system.|
|Back end, Front end: A third option is really a combination of the first two, which may fit certain business needs, especially when you want to make part of your data available to the public through the Internet, but insist that other parts of that data should ramain secure and not at revealed to others. You can then manage your data on your “back end” desktop database and export whatever you want to publish to your “front end” online database.|