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Advanced Features Using a Table

From the New

Medal of Honor Database

(On CD/ROM)*


Scroll Horizontally to see the full width of the Table you work with for advanced queries.

 

The Medal of Honor database actually includes nearly a dozen related tables with nearly fifty specialized fields to organize our data.  All of the forms and reports you have seen throughout these pages are based upon this underlying data in a user-friendly interface.  To allow more advanced functions, we have compiled the most common fields into a single table that you can access from the switchboard to perform advanced queries.


If you are comfortable with Microsoft® Access® this table will not be too intimidating.  If you are not comfortable with database manipulation, don't let the table's appearance frighten you.  

1)  You can not corrupt the data in the underlying table with a typo.  You can not enter or edit the data in this table, only FILTER and SORT it.

2)  If you are running the database from the CD/ROM it will be READ ONLY (you can not save any changes made to the database.  If you are running the database from your hard drive you can save changes (such as the even MORE advanced features available to UPDATE your database).  But if you make an error, you will still have your original database in a backup file on CD/ROM.

There are two primary actions you can take to manipulate the data in this table:

  1. SORT:  You can arrange the data by sorting data based upon a selected field.  You select the field to sort on by clicking with your mouse in that field.  To sort the table alphabetically by last name, click in the Last Name field to select it.  Next click on the Sort Ascending button (the A/Z icon) on the tool bar to sort this field.

  2. FILTER:  You filter the records to select all fields with the same data.  There are many ways to filter including: 

    • FILTER BY SELECTION - When you select a field and click on this option (the funnel with a lightening bolt), only records matching the selected record are shown.  All other records are filtered out.

    • FILTER EXCLUDING SELECTION - By right-clicking on a record you can exclude all records with the same selected date from your list.

    • FILTER BY FORM - When you select this option (funnel with a page), all data disappears.  When you click on any field a drop down box gives you the option to filter out blank records, or to filter out records containing ANY data.

 

Case Problem 

This exercise will return a list of all Civil War Medal of Honor recipients in order of their age at the time of their action, in order to determine how many young men under the age of 18 received Medals of Honor.


 STEP 1 - Display only CIVIL WAR records

To do this we will apply a FILTER.  We accomplish this by locating any record with the words "Civil War" in the WAR field.  Click on the words "Civil War", then click on the FILTER BY SELECTION icon (funnel with lightening bolt).  When you do this all records except those with "Civil War" in the war field disappear.  At the bottom of the table in the gray status bar you will see the text "Record 1 of 1522 (Filtered)".


STEP 2 - Filter out those records we don't have AGE information for.

[If you look in the AGE ACTION field in the table, you will note some records are blank.  That is because there are some recipients for whom we do not have a Date of Birth, so we can not calculate their age at the time of their Medal of Honor action.]

We filter our 1522 Civil Records using the FILTER BY FORM option (the funnel with a page behind it).  When you click on this, all records disappear until you specify how you want to filter the table.  If you click on the AGE field, a drop-down arrow appears to offer you two options:
        Is Null
(There is no data in the field)
        Is Not Null (The field contains data)
Since we want to filter OUT the empty records, we will select the IS NOT NULL option.  This means we are filtering IN those records with data, and "hiding" those records where the AGE field is blank.  After selecting the IS NOT NULL value, you click on the APPLY FILTER ICON (the plain funnel).  The records where a Civil War recipient's age is known are all displayed and at the bottom of the page you will see "Record 1 of 1447 (Filtered)" displayed in the status bar.  (The filter by form FILTERED OUT 75 blank records.)


STEP 3 - Arrange these 1447 Medal Recipients by age.

To arrange the recipients by age we apply the SORT option.  To do this you can click anywhere in the AGE field to select it, then click on the SORT ASCENDING icon (A/Z) on the tool bar.  All 1447 records are sorted from the youngest to the oldest recipient.  The first recipient listed is Willie Johnson, who may have been as young as 11 years old (we know his month but not his year of birth and his birthday and MOH action occurred in the same month, July).  If you scroll to the end of the list you will see that Henry Shutes, at age 58, was the oldest recipient.

STEP 4 - COUNT the number of recipients under age 18.

You don't have to scroll down the table and physically count to get your answer.  Simply scroll down the table to the last record where a recipient is shown to be 17 years old.  Click anywhere on that record and look at the gray status bar at the bottom of the page.  It reads "Record 66 of 1447 (Filtered)".  This tells us that 66 young men 17 years old or younger received Medals of Honor for their actions during the Civil War.

 

The above example is presented here to give you an idea on how you can manipulate the data in our table using filter and sort options to create advanced queries.  Using the same process, you are virtually unlimited in the questions you can ask this database to answer for your research needs.

 

 
Special Note:
SORTING ON DATES

You will notice that all date fields in the table are duplicated.  This is necessary because some dates given in the official records either do not specify a month/day, or because some are multiple dates (February 3 - 4, 1968).  In order to sort based upon a date, we must sort on a complete date field.  In the example shown you will see several dates of birth where only the YEAR is known.  In order to enable a sort feature, in the date field for sorting we have defaulted to the earliest possible date.  If you are printing a record, you will certainly want to sort the list, but you will want to accurately show the proper dates.  For this reason, SORT on the "Sort" date but use the accompanying date field as the ACTUAL date in any reporting.
[If you export data from this table to Microsoft® Excel® for further manipulation of the data, be forewarned that Excel® will not recognize any dates prior to 1900, thus dates in the SORT DATE fields will be corrupted.]

 

We are quite proud of our efforts to build and design this database, and are excited about the prospects of making it available to the public.  Below are links to some additional information on the database you may find of interest.

Updates & Upgrades  |  Limited Signature Edition  |  Public Use License  |   Home

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