An Online Database for Less The Cost of A Cup of Coffee

So let’s say you are a researcher with some data that you’ve gathered as part of your research that you want to display online. In other words, an online database. There are many ways to do that, many software packages, or programs that will help you. Here are The Research Software Company, we’ve just created one that will cost less than one dollar per year to run.

The database is called the Digital Onomasticon of 1st Temple (Iron Age II) Biblical Names, collected and organized by Dr. Mitka Golub of the Hebrew University. To save you from having to Google Onomasticon, let us explain that an it means a collection of words in a specialized field, that are organized in multiple ways. (In other words, a database!)

Dr. Golub’s database comprises names found on archeological artifacts that were found on excavations throughout the middle east and date back to the time of the First Temple Period. We’re particularly excited about this project, as our office has a particular affinity for all things Biblical Archaeology.

We are also excited because this database costs very little to run – less than $1/year.

I hope that sentence didn’t make you spit coffee all over your laptop. If it did though, you can get another cup of coffee for about 2x the cost of a database.

Creating this minisite was quite straightforward – we do not have any backend server. All the processing is done in the web browser. Since the data is not large, the web browser downloads it and performs queries on it inside the user’s browser.

The only cost we have is storing the website’s pages and data on Amazon S3. This amounts to less than $1/year in the Onomasticon’s case.

This technique is perfect for small datasets (a few megabytes). It is possible to extend it so that it works with slightly larger datasets (10MB-20MB range) – depending on the data. Larger datasets will need to be handled the old fashioned way – with some backend server.

If you are working with small datasets that you’d like to make available to other users, and are worried about costs for storing and manipulating that data, head over to the contact us page and drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.

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