The idea of the BetaArchive database came along around 2010 when Andy and mrpijey were trying to figure out a way to allow all users to see what we had in our archive. The idea was simple, but neither knew how to construct this into a working database until many years later. In 2018 a version of the database was finally created that allowed basic searching and data to be shown for each release. It has been growing from there into a feature rich database, and it is still growing.
The database is a place where we will collect as much information about a release as possible. Eventually we hope to have screenshots and imagery, detailed file data, file checksums/hashes, and more. We're continuing to add more to the database all the time, but it's a slow process.
Chances are you probably can. There are 2 ways to search, either via the main search function or as a secondary search using the search box just above the table of data. However if you can't find something you need or can't refine it properly, let us know and we'll see if there is any way we can improve the search feature.
You can! If you have download access you can download from the database as long as you're logged into the forum.
It's not simple, but in a nutshell we scan the entire archive and each release has its own meta data file containing all the information that we have about the release. From these we can construct the database, and should anything happen to the database itself all of the data that was stored within it can be reconstructed directly from the meta files.
Typically the database will be updated at least once a week, but sometimes more often if we have new releases, corrections or other changes to make.
We do have more data than is listed, however we use de-duplication and patching to reduce the size within our archive. This means removing duplicated data and keeping only one copy, which is then reconstructed later. Some files are reconstructed on the fly, but others will need manual patching to reconstruct the file. The database size appears smaller because for patched files we list actual file sizes of each file rather than their full reconstructed sizes. Other files are not affected.