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Improving access to locally created information files anything from an obituary file to a reference desk FAQ is a great way for a library to extend its reach and enhance its services. And making a Web-accessible database using PHP and MySQL isn't as complicated as you might think. If you're a library techie by training or by default and you know a little about database terms (fields, records) and have used HTML and FTP, you can learn enough in this one-day session to get that database online and searchable.

The main focus of this class is PHP, a fun, easy, open source (free!), scripting language. While PHP can make Web page creation and maintenance a breeze, its best purpose is to help you make databases quickly. PHP will allow you to create staff and user search tools tailored to their needs. This workshop will give you the necessary skills to get that project going, plus the basic knowledge that will allow you to pursue further study of PHP on your own.

Workshop Description: This is an all-day, hands-on training session. Through individual and group exercises, you will become familiar with PHP, learning how it can enhance ordinary Web pages and/or be used to connect to a database. SQL and MySQL will also be covered, but briefly. You will learn beginning PHP, then move on to connect to a pre-created database, search it, and display those results. The instructor will provide cheat sheets, a webliography, as well as practical tips that can be applied immediately.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • SQL and MySQL
    • Definitions and appearance
    • How to make a Microsoft Access database or an Excel spreadsheet into a MySQL database
  • Beginning PHP
    • Variables, comments, operators
    • FTP
    • If Then Else loops
  • Security and Sorting
    • Using include files
    • Create an SQL Boolean string
  • Closing the Database and Closing the Class

Workshop Instructor: Lisa R. Bartle