Forum OpenACS CMS: Re: OpenACS database API
even if you just plan on using the database api in your project, I still suggest you install all the packages you need as per a normal installation, as there are sometimes tcl-level callbacks responsible to define data model and/or fill tables with fundamental data.
I do not know enough about your project to suggest further, but from what I understand, just install the packages you need. This is as clean as it gets
Hope it helps.