Access 97 is still a popular choice for databases (especially in archaeology!) but the default ArcGIS 9.2 geodatabase is in Access 2000 format and cannot be opened in earlier versions of Microsoft Access. It is possible to create a geodatabase that can be used by both programmes.
Create a blank database in Microsoft Access 97 and save it to the location where you want your geodatabase to be stored. Close Access
In ArcCatalog, navigate to the database, and right-click to add a new object. Choose “table” rather than “feature class” or any of the other options.
Create a simple table called”test”, or similar- you can delete in in a minute. This creates all the geodatabase-specific tables that you need in the database.
Import your spatial data into the geodatabase, or create new data as required. You should now be able to access the data in both Microsoft Access and ArcGIS.
As always with geodatabases- do not delete geodatabase tables or feature classes in Access as they will remain visible in ArcCatalog. Only use ArcCatalog for deletions.