Building a causal Personal Database

Recently, we are focusing on database in class, such as why we need database, what kind of database we normally use, how to build a database, etc. It’s fun to learn databases for business, or university, or industry because they are more demanded. But I find that a personal database has potential market as well, and it’s good to know how to build a private database as well.

First, why do we need a personal database?

The database can help you to be efficient when you need information, and it’s done by your daily input and accumulation. Your saved pages on a Facebook page or “Save for later” on Chrome does not count as a database. Here is the question, how many of you who mark a page on social media or blog and decide to read it later will really do it?

In fact, each person’s brain is a database. That information which also forms a permanent memory has stored in your hippocampus, waiting for you to search at any time. Having a personal database is equivalent to have the possibility of unlimited knowledge reserves. But not a lot people have the capability to form a big database of permanent memory in their brains. Mendeleev said:” My bookshelf has much more knowledgeable than I have, but I am a chemist and it is not.” So, on the contrary, you really don’t have to remember anything and place them in your brain.

Second, what do we need to maintain the personal database?

You must have a good habit and a strong desire for knowledge in order to use your personal database effectively. The establishment of a personal database contains the three parts: collection, organization, and retrieve. You need to take time to do collation and organization every day so that you can have a critical moment effortlessly completed the third part — retrieve and application .
Here, I’m going to introduce a way to create a personal database using free tools, so you only need to cultivate good habits.

Third, how to implement?

  1. The main part of the database — your documents and posts.

You need to organize all your documents and posts. First of all, you need to download Evernote or Onenote on your devices. There are many related products, but I only recommend these. Evernote is an international brand, full function, but its open link function is the biggest disadvantage. Onenote is actually more powerful than Evernote, but it hasn’t been used as extensively as Evernote because some apps could only support transporting “saved pages” links to Evernote but not to Onenote.

All you need to do is to throw all your daily articles into the app! In the beginning, you may only have big-titled categories like academic learning, entertainment, etc. But when your database is becoming more substantial, you can divide the big categories into small classes, like English education, development technology, history, etc. And those will be the subdivision of your database. 
Name the folders with numbers in order could be an important technique to sort folders in categories. The advantage of document organization is that you will never fail to find your sudden ideas that you wrote before, especially when you want to write a paper on a subdivision field, you can search your notes to find inspiration. No worry about losing your materials. This process is very similar to the old age when people cut newspapers and glued them into their album, but we’re using software to make the procedure greatly simplified. If you use the Chrome browser, install extensions with “cut” function so that you can cut your favorite articles into the Evernote for future reference (it can also be used to block ads for articles).

2. Utilization of cloud

So how do we store our sources besides our documents? Like pictures, music, artworks, etc. Then you need to use the cloud, and Dropbox could be a good software. Download and install the software, generate a disk on the computer, then you store sources in the disk and they will be automatically uploaded to the cloud. You also have access on your phone and other devices to visit your cloud.

3. Listary (Windows) and Alfred (Mac)

This is the third part of the database — Retrieve and application! For Windows users, I recommend Listary. Listary has strength in retrieving all the data that you need from the entire computer very fast, and it’s even quicker than the computer’s searching system. If you have the habit to keep awkward pictures of your friends and like to tease them, Listary will be your tool to find the pic efficiently. Because Windows requires you to go through every folder and its sub-folders to get the thing you want, it takes a LOT of time! For Mac users, I recommend spotlight and Alfred which are already installed with the OS system.

Forth, conclusion

Building a personal database will transform your daily organization into efficient searching and retrieve. The more particular your organization is, the less time you will need to retrieve data, and the easier to find the material you need. If the cloud has a large enough storing capacity, it is useful to store some video resources as well.
It’s necessary to do a brief review of your storage in could sometimes in order to get a general idea of your sources, so that you can be able to retrieve the material so as soon as possible when you want it. So start cultivating your habits!

Btw sometimes, your personal database will reflect what kind of person you are base on your sources, and you will know yourself better by looking though it.


Hu, Pingyang. An easy way to build a personal database. August 27, 2015. Web. Feb. 19, 2017.

Metz, Cade. The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus from the Amazon Cloud Empire. March 14, 2016. Web. Feb. 19, 2017.

Kim, Eugene. The Clock is Ticking for Dropbox, Valued at $10 Billion More Than a Year Ago. May 20, 2015. Web.

Nelson, Tom. Spotlight: Using the Finder Search Window. Aug 24, 2016. Web. Feb 19, 2017.