I’ve been using Zoho for a while now for its word processing and spreadsheet programs. The other day I decided to play around with the Zoho Creator to check out their capabilities with creating databases as I needed a way to keep track of more detailed statistics for our reference department. I don’t have much background with database creation, but I managed to create a Reference Statistical Analysis database in about 20 minutes. It’s all drag and drop functionality and it’s quite simple to get the hang of right away.
Zoho starts you off with a blank form and an array of text, number, and other fields along a sidebar which you can drag and drop onto your form. You can add many different types of fields into your database including radio buttons, drop-down lists, checkboxes, multiple select fields, dates, notes, and more. You can make fields “required” so that others have to fill them in, add advanced actions (I passed on this!), or leave instructions.
Zoho calls the reports that you will want to run on your data “Views” and it automatically creates one for you which outputs all of your data. You can create new views by setting the criteria for what you want a report on. You can also duplicate Views to create new reports. I set up a Views which reports on the daily Reference activity, and then I just duplicate it for the other days I want to report on. I have also created Views for the types of questions asked and the location of the patron, i.e. in-person, telephone, IM.
You can export your data in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, HTML file, .pdf, .csv, RSS, and more. You can also search your data and view it in a number of ways including a calendar view.
I have created a public copy of the database for everyone to try out and play around with. You can enter data and check out the reports I have set up. If you like it there is an option on the top left to “Copy Application”, so you could grab a copy for your own department. Have fun!