Getting Started with a Small-Scale Database

We are two history of childhood scholars interested in developing a small-scale relational database to represent available biographical data of past winners of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. We are relatively new to DH and would like to use this project to develop some DH skills–learning by doing, in this case. One of us is a librarian who took a course in database management in library school (several years ago now) but her knowledge, having gone largely unused, has grown fairly rusty (we are, however, in contact with her database management professor). We have identified several possible software programs, including Bento and Amazon’s RDS service (both cost money) and Microsoft’s SQL Server Express (free),
and are interested in using a session to explore the pros and cons of using database software. We’d like to learn what’s involved and find out what kinds of questions we should be asking, resources we need to muster, and decisions we need to make. We see this as a learning-by-doing session and would welcome both fellow learners and especially those with expertise in this area who’d be interested in helping guide the learning process.