[Bell Historians] Historical lists of peals / founders

Michael Wilby michael_wilby at y...
Tue Mar 26 09:19:42 GMT 2002

"LOVE, Dickon" <DrLove at s...> wrote: 
I am not sure whether the committee that started to consider the idea of a
National Bell Register got as far as defining fields. The difficulty here is
that some allowance needs to be made for imprecise information, yet at the
same time make the database meaningful enough to perform searches and

For example, for a field that has the date of a bell, either it can be set
to be a 4 digit integer, or it can be a free text field to allow the phrase

The same applies for weights. A bell can be 14-0-0 or 14cwt approx.

A way to overcome this, and still allow the weights to be listed in order, is to split the cwt qrs lbs into 3 integer fields and add a 4th field set to 1 or 0 to identify whether the weight is approximate or not. This is how the Rings of 12 database is set out anyhow. Dates are a little harder to classify, especially if a range is required, however applying the same logic an "approximate" flag field could be used as above. With all these cases the use does not become apparent until the data is displayed through an interface, such as a web page, etc., which translates all these codes into meaningful information, though this sort of database structure is quite easy to maintain by hand.

For diameters, this is more straightforward as approximations are not
normally used, but sometimes it is nicer to describe a diameter as 25 1/16"
than 25.0625".

On top of that, it would be useful to publish older weights for bells that
have i.e. been retuned, or had their canons lopped off, or even just
reweighed with more modern equipment.

With a relational database this is easy to accomodate by entering a new record and linking this to a previous one.

I have been building up my database over the past 8 years (longer if you
include paper records) and so have given such things quite a bit of thought.
When I have a moment, I would be happy to publish my table definition for
bells on this list if people are interested.

Likewise - no one has a monopoly on good ideas and it might be sensible to pool ideas on structure and storage format. It would then be possible to create a generic display medium, or at least one that doesn't require much alteration to work. There are also huge benefits to standardising the format of data collection.


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