Database Maintenance

General information

The purpose of the Database (ok, actually just a spreadsheet) is to keep track of items submitted to OWWW for critiquing, the location of the file(s) uploaded, and the number of crits done for a given item. The Database is stored as a spreadsheet in Google Docs and must be edited there.  Log into Google Drive and the spreadsheet should be visible under “Shared with me.” (If, when your month for database maintenance comes around, you can’t see the document or can’t edit it, please post a note to the list and one of the Moderators or the Website guru will give you permissions.)


Updating the database is a fairly simple process.  The database contains the following fields for each listing:

  • No. of Crits
  • Title
  • Author
  • Genre
  • Date (mm/dd/yy)
  • Files location
  • Word Count

The first row of the table, right beneath the header row, is used to keep track of the Database itself — when it was last updated and by whom.  In this first row, in the “Date” column, enter the date when you last updated the database, in the “Author” column to note what the message number is you left off at during your last update (This makes it easy to remember where to pick up again next time you update the unformation).   The schedule of members responsible for updating the Database is stored in “Member Area > Volunteer Schedule.”

To update the information, go through the following steps.

  1. Go to the Yahoo group and view all the new messages that have come through since the date noted in “Last updated.”  To do this, you have to be logged into Yahoo.  Log in, then go to the OWWW Group and select Conversations, then scroll down to the right date.
  2. Look for any that have CRIT, SUB, or STOPCRIT in the subject line.
    • For CRITs – count how many CRITs there are, and for which stories.  Remember, Shortcrits do not count as a crit.
    • For SUBs – note the title, author (be sure to get their full name, not their email address), genre, date posted, where the story was uploaded to (“Short stories” or “Novels” or “SSIAW” etc.), and the word count.  See “Submissions” below for more details.
    • For STOPCRITS – note the story name.
  3. Note the message # on the most recent post.
  4. Go back to the google doc and update the information based on your notes:
    • For CRITs, increment the number of crits for each story based on your notes.  For example, if “My Story About Me” received 2 crits, add 2 to the number given in the “Crits” column.
    • For SUBs, add a new row to the spreadsheet, put  “0” in the “Crits” column, and fill in the rest of the row with title, author, genre, date posted, where the story is located (“Short stories” or “Novels” or “SSIAW” etc.), and the word count.
    • For STOPCRITs, delete that row of the spreadsheet.
  5. There isn’t a save button – Google Docs saves information as you enter it.
  6. You should update at least once a week.  Depending on the amount of activity on the list, you may want to do it more often..


  • It is much easier — and much more helpful to members — if you update the Database frequently rather than letting several days go by.
  • Only the database volunteer for that month should edit the Database in order to avoid confusion and mix-ups.  If you notice something that needs a correction and it’s not your month, email the Database Droid for that month (The schedule of members responsible for updating the Database is stored in “Member Area > Volunteer Schedule”).
  • You may wish to print out a listing of new messages, starting from the “Left off at” message number, so you can tick off SUBs and CRITs as you record them in the Database.  To do this, highlight the new messages and choose “File > Print selection.” Alternatively, you can have the Conversations open in a separate tab or window, and switch back and forth from the Database to the list of messages.
  • If there are multiple crits for the same story, you can count up the number crits and change the “No. of Crits” field by that amount (e.g., four crits means you increment the crit count by 4).
  • Each time you update the databases, as the last step, you MUST update the first row to reflect the date of your most recent update session and the last message number you left off with.
  • Check the  “Volunteers” table (Member Area > Volunteer schedule) to see who the next volunteer is. After you do your last update for the month, post a message to the list with the subject “DISC: Database Handoff” and tell the next volunteer the message number where you left off.

Submissions (SUB: message headers) details

  1. Review each SUB: message so you have the information needed for each field.
  2. Add a new row to the spreadsheet.
  3. Fill in the requested information for each column:
    • No. of Crits — enter 0 (zero)
    • Title of the story — enter the title as given in the SUB message
    • Author — enter the author’s full name (not their email address name)
    • Genre — enter the genre of the submission as given in the SUB message. Sometimes this is not identified. If you don’t know, simply put a question mark.
    • Date — enter the date of the SUB: message.
    • File location — enter where the file for the story or chapter is located, so people can find it if they want to do a crit. If it’s a flash fiction piece that was simply posted in the body of a message, enter the message number.  If it’s a short story, enter “Short Stories for crit.”  For Short-Story-In-A-Week (SSIAW) submissions, instead of listing “Files”, indicate which week of the SSIAW it is — which also corresponds to the folder: SSIAW 1, SSIAW 2, etc. If it’s a work in progress, enter “WIP”.
    • Word count — enter the word count as given in the SUB message.
  4. If any of the above information is missing, post a message to the list with the subject line “DISC: Info needed on [name of person]’s submission” and request the information.
  5. Repeat for each submission.