This is the first of a series of posts about storing social science data in relational databases. I’ve found that grad school has prepared me for many things: using statistical software to do complex analyses, writing up academic papers and submit them for review to journals, collecting and coding data for research projects, presenting and networking at conferences. But I never learned how to properly keep track and store the data I’ve collected throughout my young academic career. Instead, I’ve cobbled together techniques, borrowing heavily from my skills as amateur computer and web programmer, that seem to work for me. In an effort to get more social scientists to think about this, I’ve decided to share some of my techniques, beginning with storing data in databases.