The Database

Work for The Technology Source is done partially in HTML files stored on the HORIZON server and partially in an Oracle database which can be accessed through the Horizon server. Understanding how the database is set up and how it operates is vital to understanding the operations of TS. To that end, we have prepared this guide to the database.

This section of the manual is divided into two main parts: I. Installing the Oracle database on your home computer, and II. Working with the database

I. Installing the Oracle database on your home computer

Before you can use the database, you will need to install Microsoft Access to your computer if you don't have it already. Dr. Morrison has a copy of the Microsoft Office suite on CD that you can use to install Microsoft Access.

Once you have Microsoft Access, you will need to install the Oracle database to your computer. This is not the database itself, but rather a "client" configuration that will allow your computer to interface with the Oracle database through your Microsoft Access program. You can either ask Dr. Morrison for the CD with the Oracle client, or you can use option 1B below if you have a high speed Internet connection.  

Installing the Oracle client:

1 A) If you obtained the Oracle client CD from Dr. Morrison, insert CD into drive bay.
1 B) If you have a high speed Internet connection, you can connect directly to the Horizon server to get the Oracle client installation. 

a. Open up a new "Windows Explorer" (NOT Internet Explorer). You can do this by right-clicking the "My Computer" icon on the desktop and choosing "Explore" or by using the key combination "Windows Key"+"E."
b. In the Address line at the top, type in "\\\oracle_client" (no quotes).
c. From here proceed to step #2.

2) Run setup.exe.
3) On the Welcome page, click "Next."
4) On the File Locations page, decide where you wish to install the Oracle client ("Destination").
5) On the Installation Types page, choose "Application User."
6) On the Summary page, click "Install."
7) Once the main installation finishes, the installation program the Net8 Configuration Assistant will fire. Follow these steps:

  1. For "Welcome," click "Next."
  2. For "Directory Access Service," select "No, I want to defer..."
  3. For "Naming Methods...," Selected Naming Methods should read "Local" (as is the default). Click "Next."
  4. For "Database version," leave "Oracle 8i" checked and click "Next."
  5. For "Service Name," type "ORDB" (no quotes).
  6. For "Protocols," select "TCP" (already selected) and click "Next."
  7. For "TCP/IP Protocol," the Host Name is "" and the port is 1521 (as is default). Click "Next."
  8. For "Test," select "Yes, perform a test." Don't worry; initially it will fail. We'll fix that in the next step.
  9. On the next page ("Connecting"), click "Change Login." The username is "fiser_horizon2" and the password is "goheels1". (No quotes.) Click "Next."
  10. For "Net Service Name," type "HORIZON_ORACLE."
  11. When asked if you want to configure another service, choose "No," then "Next." And finally "Next" until "Finish" in this dialogue.
8) On the "End of Installation" page, choose "Exit."

Adding HORIZON_ORACLE connection to ODBC:

1) Open up the Windows Control Panel (START > Settings > Control Panel)
2) Select "Data Sources (ODBC)" (or just "ODBC" depending on your version of Windows. In Windows 2000, the "Data Sources" selection is under "Administrative Tools."
3) Choose the "System DSN" tab and click "Add."
4) Under "Create New Data Source" do the following:

a. Select "Microsoft ODBC for Oracle" and click "Finish."
b. For the Data Source Name, type "HORIZON_ORACLE" (no quotes!).
c. For Description, you may type a description or leave it blank.
d. For User Name, type "fiser_horizon2" (no quotes).
e. For Server, type in "HORIZON_ORACLE" (no quotes).
f. Click "OK."

5) You are finished. Click "OK."

Download and run the database:

1) FTP to the Horizon server (see procedures manual for further instructions).
2) CD (change directory) to /horizon/databases.
3) Download the ts_home.mdb file.
4) At this point you should be able to double-click on the database and it  should open up with no problems. Try opening a table. If you see data, you're successfully connected; if you don't, review your prior steps. If that fails, contact Noel Fiser ( to see if he can help.

NOTE: From time to time, Noel may re-configure the database to give it new features. When this happens, you will have to FTP-download the new version of the ts_home.mdb file to your local directory so that your client is consistent with the newest form of the database. 

II. Working with the database

To access the Oracle database, we use Microsoft Access. You must be connected to the Internet to use the database. Open Access and then open the ts_home.mdb file you have downloaded to your computer. A window will appear with the various tables of the database, which are explained below. If you open a table and see data, you are connected to the server and ready to work in the database. Many of these tables are related, for example information entered in one database may appear in a drop-down menu in another database.

General Information

The database, like so many other elements of TS, has its own quirks. This manual describes some of the known quirks, although you may discover more as you go along. Please add to this information as you learn! A few of the commonly noted quirks are:

  1. The database sometimes gives an error message for no apparent reason, and you may even be forced to close the table you are working in or the database as a whole. The only known solution to this is to close the database, reopen it, and cross your fingers. Typically the second or third try is the charm!
  2. The "Mailings" table (described below) may give you an error message after you have deleted a record, and will then close. The only way to prevent this from happening every time you delete a record is to first do something else in this table. The best method discovered so far is to enter in a new record before you begin deleting.
  3. If you open the database and cannot access any of the tables, make sure that you have an open Internet connection. If you connection is established and you are still unable to see any information, contact Noel Fiser ( for advice.

Articles Table

The Articles table is where basic information about the article is entered. The fields are as follows:

  1. State: reflects the publication status of an article. Although there are many options in this drop-down menu, at present we only use two of these options: Submitted and Published. When we first receive an article, it is listed as Submitted, and when it is ready to be published, we select that option.
  2. ArticleID: this is the ID number assigned to an article. When entering a new record, simply choose the next number in numerical order and enter it here.
  3. Title: the main article title
  4. Subtitle: the article subtitle, if it has one. The colon between title and subtitle does NOT need to be entered, it appears in the title automatically.
  5. **URL: this field is only used for articles that existed under the "old" system and points to their old URL. It is not necessary to use this field for new articles.
  6. Summary: this is where the description of the article for the Contents page is entered. The description must be entered with basic HTML tags if it is to feature italics, an em-dash, or other such formatting. In addition, in the Contents description the name of the section (Case Studies, Commentary, etc.) should appear, with the first letters of the words capitalized.
  7. **PrintPages: this field is not necessary.
  8. **Body: this field can contain the full text of an article, but is not necessary.
  9. Last Modified: this field appears in many tables. The database automatically notes when a record was last updated. You do not need to use this field.

Articles-Bullpen Table

This table lists articles that appear in the bullpen and link them to their appropriate section. It also will eventually be used to generate the bullpen itself. Fields include:

  1. ArticleID: a similar field appears in many tables. This contains the title and ID number of the article. When you begin to type in an article title that already appears in the "Articles" table, the database tries to match what you are typing with the articles already entered. When you have typed in enough letters, the title of the article you are looking for should appear, with the number automatically appearing. If it does not pop up, that means the title you have entered does not match anything in the database. Check to make sure you have typed it correctly, and that it appears correctly in the "Articles" table.
  2. Section ID: this identifies in which section of the horizon site the article should appear. For most, the correct selection is "Technology Source."
  3. Category ID: For a TS article, this is where you choose in which section of the journal the article should appear ("Commentary," "Vision," etc.)
  4. Initial Date: this is the date an article was first entered into this table. This field is generated automatically by the database.
  5. **Copyeditor ID: This is a field that may be used in the future, but for now it is not necessary.

Articles-Extra Table

This table is where figures, tables, papers, images, and exhibits are linked to articles. All of the files themselves are saved in /resource in the appropriate directory, but the information about the files is stored in this table.

  1. Type: This identifies which type of object the file is (exhibit, figure, etc.). The choices are in a drop-down menu.
  2. Number: This is the number of the item, i.e., if it is Exhibit 1 it would be number one, if it is Figure 4 then it would be number four.
  3. Title: This is the title that will appear on the file when the link is followed. Do not include the title on the actual file itself, only place it in the database.
  4. File_R: This tells the database the name under which the file is saved.  If it is saved as 00694-1.gif, enter that here.
  5. Paragraph: For images, enter the paragraph number in which they should appear here. Be careful, the database identifies a new paragraph only when it begins with a <p> tag in the HTML--and there can be no other information in that tag.
  6. Alignment: Again, for images, this is how they should be aligned in the text. Choices are left, right, and center.
  7. SizeX and SizeY: these values specify the size of the pop-up window for exhibits, figures, etc.  X is the x-axis length, Y is the y-axis.

Articles-Issues Table

This table matches articles up with the issue in which they are to appear, and places the articles in the order they will appear in on the contents page.

  1. Issue ID: This drop-down menu allows you to choose an article's issue. The issues are listed as Technology Source [month/year].
  2. Subsection ID: The section of TS in which the article should appear.
  3. Article Order: this number indicates the order in which articles appear. The same number cannot be listed for two articles in the same issue, so if you wish to re-arrange the order of articles you may have to juggle numbers (i.e., to switch articles 5 and 6, you could enter "10" in for the article that is currently #5, then enter "5" for the article currently at #6, and then go back and change the original #5 to "6." Sounds confusing, but after you give it a try it makes sense!
  4. **AlignThumb: this refers to the alignment of the thumbnail graphic that appears on the contents page. This is set by the webmaster when he inserts the graphics.

Articles-Keywords Table

This table connects articles to keywords which describe them. These words are used to connect articles for readers who are interested in finding other related articles.  Articles with the same keywords will show up in a "read related" search.

  1. KID: this is the keyword for the article.  One keyword can be listed per entry in the table. These keywords come from a drop-down menu generated from the Keywords table (see below). Only words that are already in the Keywords table can be entered in this field.
  2. Relevance: this is the relevance of the keyword to the article on a scale from one (least relevant) to ten (most relevant). This is a subjective determination that you can make after reading the article. Use your best guess to determine the correct number to enter here.

Articles-Ratings Table

**This table is not used.

Articles-Relations Table

This table connects new articles with articles that have already been published, again to create "read related" links. This is particularly useful if an article refers to, replies to, or continues an earlier article.

  1. Article A: The title of the first article you are linking
  2. Relation: How the two articles are connected. You can choose references, replies to, continues, or "other" if there is some other connection.
  3. Article B: The title of the second article.

Articles-Versions Table

**Again, this table is not used.

Articles-Webchats Table

Authors who publish in The Technology Source also participate in real-time Webchat sessions moderated by Dr. Morrison; these Webchats allow the authors to speak with our readers and other interested parties about the contents of their article. When Dr. Morrison contacts the authors regarding final revisions of their articles, he also asks them to provide a particular 45-minute time slot for their Webchat. 

When these time slots are provided by the authors, they are then entered into this table of the database. Enter the title of the corresponding article first in the "AID" field; note that this field has a drop-down menu just like the "Author-Article" table. Then enter the scheduled time of the Webchat in the "Date_R" field, and the duration of the Webchat in the "Duration" field (if the "Date_R" field is left blank, the scheduled time of the Webchat will automatically be listed as "TBA"; if the "Duration" field is left blank, the Webchat duration will automatically show the starting time of the Webchat ). At this point, the "URL" field can be left blank. Once a Webchat has already been conducted, the technical support staff of HorizonLive will provide customized url addresses for the completed Webchats of each article. These url addresses are then entered into the "URL" field of the "Articles-Webchats" table so that archived Webchats will be available to Technology Source readers.        

Author-Article Table

This table links authors with the articles they have written and also determines the order in which authors' names appear (if there are multiple authors for one article).

  1. Author ID: The author's name, chosen from a drop-down menu. If an author's name does not appear here, it should be added through the authors table (see below).
  2. Order: A number indicating the order in which names appear. For example, if authors should be listed in the following order: Lindsey Ligett, Chad Trevitte, and Sarah Mazer; then the order for Lindsey Ligett would be "1," for Chad Trevitte "2," and Sarah Mazer would be "3."

Authors Table

This table stores biographical information on all authors. All authors must submit bios before their articles are published, and this information is entered into this table. Typically we create an entry in the authors table (if one does not already exist) as soon as we have accepted an article for consideration in the bullpen. The information may not be complete, but at least a record is created.

  1. Author ID: The ID number assigned to an author by the database.
  2. Last name, First name, and Middle name: Enter each element of an author's name into these fields.
  3. Title, Affiliation: The author's job title and company, school, etc. go into these fields
  4. Email and Web: The author's email address (required) and web site (optional) are entered into these fields. They will appear in the bio as links.
  5. Bio URL: The name you assign to the biographical record. Typically this is just the author's last name, although sometimes an additional identifier (such as initial) is needed. When you save the author's photo to the server, the name of the photo must match the name in the URL column (i.e., if the URL is Ligett, then the photo would be Ligett.jpg)
  6. Bio Info: This is where the brief biographical summary appears. You can generally cut and paste this from what authors send you, but there will be some required modifications. For example, look out for SmartQuotes. which will appear as question marks. You will also need to put in HTML tags for any links, italicized words, etc, that are used in the bio.
  7. **Username and password:
  8. Security: this should be set to "1" for all bios.

Board Members Table

This table lists all of the members of the TS editorial board and when they joined TS.

  1. Member ID: The name of the board member
  2. Section ID: The publication for which the person is a board member, typically "The Technology Source"
  3. Since: The year in which the person joined the board

Categories Table

**This table sets out the different categories (sections, like "Case Studies") of TS.  It is generally only used by the webmaster, who determines the graphics used to represent each section. It could also be used to add a new section to the journal should that need arise.

Conferences Table

There is a section of the HORIZON Web site that features information on upcoming conferences related to technology and education. The information used to generate this site is stored in this table. To view any changes you make to this site, go to

  1. Title and Subtitle: enter the conference title and subtitle (if it has one) in this field
  2. URL: if the conference has a website that we should link to, put the URL here. Occasionally we create sites for conferences on our server, in that case you would put a link to the site you have created.
  3. Start and End Dates: Enter the dates the conference starts and ends. If it is a one day conference, enter the same date in both fields.
  4. Venue, City, State, and Country: enter as much information on the location of the conference as you can.
  5. Description: Put a brief description of the conference, any noteworthy speakers or presentations, and other information in this field.

Discussion Table

**This table archives messages posted using the "discuss" option at the end of all TS articles.

Discussion-Accounts Table

**This table contains information on those people signed up to use our discussion feature.

FrontDisplay-Categories, FrontDisplay-Categories-Images, FrontDisplay-Images, and FrontDisplay-Images-Orientations

**Unknown purpose

Keywords Table

This table generates the list of possible keywords, which are then used in the articles-keywords table (above). New keywords should be added as needed, but only if there is not a similar word already in the list. The purpose of keywords is to connect related articles, so it is important to use words that will fit multiple articles.

  1. KID: this number is generated by the database
  2. Keyword: enter the word itself in this field

Mailing Table

This table contains the contact information (generally names and email addresses) for everyone on the TS mailing list. Detailed information on how to manage this list is found in its own section of the Procedures Manual. The editor may sometimes ask you to add to this list or to remove names, especially when email to an address bounces. There is a directory on the server (/Office/delete addresses) in which the editor places bounced mail. When there is time after other tasks, you should go through these messages and delete the addresses if possible.

Mailing Type Table

This table sets the possible choices for the mailing types used in the Mailing table. Generally these settings do not need to be changed.

On-Ramp and Related Tables


Review Table

**This is not used.

Review State Table

**This table generates the options that appear in the articles table (published, submitted, etc.). Right now most of these settings are not used, and this table does not generally need to be updated.

Section Editors Table

This table determines the list of section editors whose names will appear on the TS site and the order in which they appear.

  1. Category ID: This is the section whose editor is identified
  2. **Editor ID: Editor's names are chosen from a drop-down menu generated from the authors table
  3. Order: This is the order in which sections and editor's names appear

Sections Table

**These are the sections of the HORIZON Web site. These also do not need to be edited regularly.

Sections-Issues Table

This table creates new issues of TS. This is what allows you to create a mock-up of a new issue. Once an issue has been entered here, articles can be placed into the contents page for that issue using the articles-issues table.

  1. Issue ID: Numbers assigned in chronological order to the issues.
  2. Section ID: For TS articles this is "1." Occasionally other entries need to be created, the number for these can be found in the Sections table.
  3. Month: The first month, expressed numerically, in which an issue is to appear. For example, the May/June issue would be listed here as "5."
  4. Year: The year in which an issue is to be published
  5. **Image: The image found on the contents page of an issue

Sections-Sponsors Table

**This table contains information on TS sponsors. It generates images and links on the main TS page for these sponsors.

  1. Sponsor: The name of the sponsoring company/group
  2. URL: The URL to which they wish their link to point
  3. Image: The image or logo they would like used on our site
  4. SOrder: The order in which sponsors appear on the TS site

Staff Table

This information generates the section of the masthead in which the names of the hard-working, talented, and all-around wonderful TS staff appears. Before a staff member can be listed here, s/he must be listed in the author's table.

  1. Staff ID: This is the number generated by the author's table for the individual.
  2. Role: The role played by the staff person, or his/her "title" within TS. Typically, most of us are listed as "Assistant to the Editor."
  3. Start Date/End Date: A person's name only appears on the masthead in between the start and end dates. End dates only need to be entered once a person leaves TS.

Tasks and Tasks-Staff Tables


Visits Tables

**These tables track site usage statistics and do not need to be edited by staff.