Database Project

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A small, Clapham based video rental store called Starlight Video rents out a range of videos. Each video needs to be catalogued and its details stored. Each member fills out a membership form in order to join the video shop. Once the member completes this form, a membership number is assigned and the form is then filled in a filing cabinet in alphabetical order by surname. The form is then filed back into the cabinet. All the loans are cross-referenced with member and video files.

The overdue fee is then calculated using a calculator or calculating device. Members often ask the sales assistants whether certain videos are in stock and when they due back, or when the new releases are due to release. The sales assistant often answers the question from memory, or finds the information by looking through the files. The manager has three assistants, none of them are computer literate, but are willing to be trained.

This video store has been running for 9 years. 2 years ago they started trading DVD videos for rental. The Current System and its Problems There are a lot of problems with the old system. They were that all preferences were documented on paper. This causes those preferences to be a waste of paper and will be hard and time consuming to locate, edit and update it. Also these preferences on paper can be damaged or lost and they would take up a lot of space.

The staff edits and updates the system by sending forms to members so that they can collect the information on paper and then manually input the new or updated information on paper. Alternative Solutions and their Problems There are other ways of tackling this problem. They are that they can be: to have cards which contain the member’s identity and every time they rent a video, like a library stamp their issue on a card and the member keeps the card and the video do not have any information to file.

This will be done by the store to have 8 digit random numbers issued to every member. On the card the number will match a in their card and use that as proof of membership. The problem with this method is that the members card could become lost therefore re-entering their details to get a new card and a complete stranger will obtain a person’s details creating a problem of security of the member’s personal details.

Also another problem is that it will take too long to issue videos out because of the stamping and also the store can only identify the video rented by its title name which no doubt the store will have many of the same in stock making it harder and longer to search still. And also the store has no evidence of the date of issue and the due date of rental, creating another quandary to keep up to date of their overdue rentals and contacting the members about their overdue purchase.

So now this issue creates and brings up new problems to overcome. The best method to overcome these problems is by ICT methods. One method is to set up a large server and make their store available online and members can download their chosen videos off the internet with a charge as a streaming video or a video with an automatic expiry timer which will expire when the purchase’s due date passes and automatically deletes or becomes un-accessible. Then the members’ profiles on the stores database will automatically update.

This method eliminates the problem of overdue rentals, security of membership profiles, time consumption of issues and the storage of videos files and could be run in a small office or offices becoming an internet only based business. And also can be a worldwide service creating large profits. Therefore this is one of the best methods that overcome all the problems mentioned earlier. However this method can on be done if the business has enough money to invest into this method.

For a larger and faster server will be extremely costly and for the customers to watch these videos in high quality the server must be broadband otherwise it will take the customer endless amounts of time to download their purchase. Also not everyone has a computer, an internet service and in this case a broadband ISP to access this service and the video files could be easily modified so that the time expiry on the videos are eradicated so the customer may keep the video illegally on their PC. The store cannot afford this method in their budget so a new one must be made. The most affordable and appropriate method is a database on site.

This database will contain the membership details of every member and details of every video in stock and will automatically calculate overdue fees of rentals and can edit and update the member and video information on demand. And also will enable the store to notify customers of overdue items by post, electronic mail or telephone. Training the staff may be a problem because they have to become familiar with Microsoft Access and a computer environment. If the assistants are completely computer illiterate then the store must cope with the old system for at least 3 months.

User Requirements

The user requirements are that, all the video details are incorporated with the database entries, all of the members’ details are able to edit and update easily, the information is able to print hard copies for manual backup and reference, the database can be stored for backup, the staff can easily search to find member information for overdue video rentals and the member information, show the price of rental and total amount of purchases and payments on the members account. Is user friendly and can automatically indicate staff when a member’s rental is overdue on the day.

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