Database Foundations for Researchers

Do you work with a large volume of qualitative sources? Are you looking for a way to keep them organized?

As researchers ourselves, we have firsthand understanding of the challenges posed by accessing and gathering a large volume of source materials, be it archival documents, audio interviews and transcripts, fieldwork notes, or other forms of qualitative evidence. We know that effective organization means less time scrambling to find information and more time moving efficiently towards your goals. So we designed this course to help you use and manage databases skillfully and purposefully so that you overcome the challenges of document storage and achieve for greater productivity overall.

How will this course help?

In so many ways! We draw on experience, expertise, and research to provide you with tools and processes that will help you manage information effectively and optimize your workflow. This course will share best practices for building and maintaining a database in ways that avoid redundant steps and keep you sustainably organized for efficient work. You will learn about the connection between database design choices and the quality of your own workflow, as well as participate in some guided reflection about your own practices, all with the goal of empowering you to make smart software selections.

What does this course include?

The course includes engaging videos, written and narrated by an experienced historian and a business efficiency expert, that give you foundational understandings of how databases can be a powerful tool in supporting your work. It also provides concrete strategies for effective database organization, as well as specific tools, apps, and other supporting technology that will enhance your workflow. In this course we do not provide training in how to use any of these tools or apps, but upon finishing this course, you will have a firm grasp of essential concepts, approaches, and practices relating to database creation, use, and management. 

For an in-depth guide to DEVONthink, please click here

About Us

Avigail Oren is a historian who is addicted to learning new skills.

Ada Barlatt
is a fun-loving, freedom-seeking tech pro who geeks out over systems and loves creating ease with technology.

Don't miss out

Table of Contents

Why Use a Database?
The Researcher's Workflow
The Role of Document Storage
Skills and Techniques for Document Storage
Technology for the Researcher's Workflow

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this only for historians?

No, the course is useful for anyone who works with a large volume of qualitative sources and wants to learn how to use databases to better organize their research. We draw many of our examples from historical research, because that's what we know best -- but we are sure you they will remind you of similar challenges in your own research practice.

How is this course different from DEVONthink for Historian's Starting Up Guide?

Database Foundations for Researchers is designed for PC users who cannot use DEVONthink (or Mac users who are not yet sure whether they want to use DEVONthink). This course includes one video that is not in the Starting Up Guide, which outlines different technology options for the researcher's workflow, and access to software comparison tables.

How long will it take me to work through the course?

The videos total up to about 60 minutes of viewing time, but you may want to budget a bit more than that to reflect on some of the questions we pose.

How long do I have access to the course?

Forever! Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the material for as long as you need. So devour it all in one weekend or take things slow. It's your choice!

I'm a broke grad student. Do you offer a discount?

Yes, we have a 25% discount for grad students. Please email from your academic email address or with a link to your departmental bio and we will send you the code.

What is your refund policy?

All sales are final, no exceptions. Please make sure you read the entire course website, including the lessons list, before you purchase. If you have any questions, we are happy to answer them! Our contact information is below.

What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?

We want to know! You have the opportunity to leave feedback at the end of the course. And you are always welcome to email us. Our contact information is below.

We are open to feedback and will strongly consider your suggestions. We are constantly making updates based on our users input.

I still have a question. How can I contact you?

We'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send us an email at

Don't miss out