The Folk Dance Database is free. You are free to use, copy and pass on this database provided that you meet the terms in the Public Licence given in the section on the public licence. This licence, similar to a GNU copyleft, means that that Folk Dance Database is not in the public domain in the technical sense of that term.

The licence is there to ensure that:

  • the distribution meets Bob Howe's original approval for the use to his data,
  • nobody else makes money out of my hard work,
  • you cannot restrict anybody else's rights to use this data
  • no one can restrict your rights to use it.

In addition, the licence ensures that there is one central point responsible for updating and distributing new, definitive versions of the database.

The licence does not restrict you from adding to or amending the database, or even passing on amended versions. It does, however, ensure that you must clearly indicate that any such version is not the standard distribution.

You may pass on copies of this manual and the database on any media you choose, provided that you meet the terms of the licence. If you contravene the terms of the licence your rights to use this product are automatically withdrawn, but this will not affect the rights of anyone to whom you have passed copies.


The source, image and documentation files can be found on my web site, or if for some reason my site has moved, search the web for "Folk Dance Database" and my name.


The database was originally prepared on a Unix system using a relational database called db++ and with the data held in ASCII based files with field delimiters. More recently it has been converted into Microsoft Access. I intend to release the database in two formats:

Field delimited ASCII files
This original format (referred to as the source format in the licence) is more general, since it can be read into just about any database, but it does require that you are capable of creating your own database tables and queries. Commas are valid in a number of the fields so these cannot be used as the field separators. Instead the fields are separated by the '|' character, and there is an additional '|' followed by a new line at the end of each entry. Note that new line means different things on Unix and Microsoft systems. These files were written on a Microsoft system. If you use unix and encounter problems you may find the dos2unix utility of use. This is present on many Unix systems.
Microsoft Access file
For those with a copy of access, this is likely to be the most convenient format, since the tables have already been constructed and it comes with report generators, validation checks and so on. This pre-assembled package is referred to as the image format in the licence.

In addition to the actual database files, I will be releasing this documentation and any other tools as a separate set of files. To obtain the whole package you will therefore require the documentation package and either the ASCII or Access file set. For convenience and compression, all three packages are compressed using winzip.

The Files

At the top level, this distribution, containing version 3.0 of the Folk Dance Database, consists of the following files:

FDDdocs.zip The documentation
FDDascii.zip The database in field delimited ASCII format
FDDaccess.zip The database in Microsoft access format


This zip archive contains the html files which you are reading at the moment. If you have a frames capable viewer start from index.html, if not start with frontpage.html. As well as the html files there is a pdf file containing the ER diagram.


This archive contains a series of .txt files, each corresponding to one of the relational tables described in the section on the structure of the database.


This archive contains the Access version of the database as a single file. This includes all the tables, macros, reports and so on.


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