Tutorial 2 | Modify the Structure

Take our tutorials to get started with Heurist. In Tutorial 2, see how to modify the structure of the database. Heurist is an iterative database, meaning that you don’t need to know the full structure of your data in advance. You can add new record types, or alter existing record types at any time, without disturbing any of your existing data. 

To begin watch the video. For detailed instructions, consult the walkthrough. To learn something else, see our full list of tutorials.

Accessing the ‘Vocabularies’ menu

The aim of this tutorial is to modify the structure of the database so that we can record the ideological affiliations of each world leader in the database. To do this, we need to create a Vocabulary of different political ideologies that our world leaders might espouse.
You can view, add and edit all the Vocabularies in your database by accessing the ‘Vocabularies’ menu in the ‘Design’ pane. Add a new Vocabulary called ‘Political Ideologies’:
Add Vocabulary Screenshot

Adding Terms to a Vocabulary

Once you have created a new vocabulary, you can select it in the Vocabularies menu, and then start adding terms to it. Add some terms such as ‘Communism’ or ‘Neoliberalism’ to your new ‘Political Ideologies vocab’:
Add Term Screenshot

Modifying The Structure of a Record Type

Each world leader in our database is a record of type ‘Person’. To record their ideological affiliations, we need to modify the ‘Person’ type so that it has a new ‘Ideological affiliation’ field. To do this, go back to the ‘Explore’ menu, double-click on a Person record (e.g. Robert Menzies), and then click ‘Modify Structure’:
Modify Structure Screenshot

Adding a New Field

In ‘Modify Structure’ mode, you can edit or insert new fields into the data entry form using the cogs on the left of the screen. Insert a new field somewhere in the form:
How to insert a new field

Configure the new field

When you insert a new field, you will be taken to a new screen where you can choose the field’s properties. Call the new field ‘Ideological affiliation’, give it a description, then choose the other settings as below:
Set field properties screenshot

Exit Modify Structure Mode

When you have finished modifying the structure of the record, you can exit ‘Modify Structure’ mode by clicking ‘Close’ in the top left of the data entry form. This step is not compulsory—you can actually modify the structure of a record and add new data to the record at the same time in Heurist. However, you may find it easier to seperate these two tasks:
Exit modify structure mode

Add some data to the field

Since we chose for this field to be ‘repeatable’, we can add as many ideological affiliations as we like. Add 2-3 ideological affiliations for Robert Menzies:
Add data to a repeatable field

Next Tutorial: Create Relationships Between Records

You have now learned one way of modifying the database structure: by changing the structure of a particular record type. In the next tutorial, you will learn another method of modifying the database structure: by defining new relationships between records.

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Create your first free Heurist database, and enter some data using our built-in data structures.
Modify the structure of your new Heurist database to record data specific to your project.
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