In a previous post, I’ve shared some background about the data analysis phase of our Museum Data Exchange Mellon grant, and posted some of the questions our museum participants wanted to have answered. In the meantime, we have created a spreadsheet [pdf] which captures our ideas to date of what questions we may want to ask of the 850K CDWA Lite XML records from 9 museums. Note that the methodology captured by this spreadsheet lays out a landscape of possibilities – it is not a definitive checklist of all the questions we will answer as part of this project. Only as we get deeper into the analysis will we know which questions are actually tractable with the tools we have at hand. I’d appreciate any thoughts on additional lines of inquiry we could pursue with our analysis, or other observations!
Since the spreadsheet attempts to structure the questions, I thought I’d provide a little gloss on the organizing principles at work.
The columns of the spreadsheet should be largely self-explanatory. Test Method tries to give a sense of whether we expect a test is machine-drive or requires human intervention, and that may be a gage for what kind of labor is required to make the test work. Primary focus limits our investigation by focusing on the most meaningful subsets of CDWA Lite, i.e. required or highly recommended data elements. (The totality of CDWA Lite consists of 134 possible units of information.)
You’ll also see along the left side of the spreadsheet that we’ve organized the questions into several categories:
The Metrics section deals with questions which have objective, factual answers.
The section on Evaluation deals with questions which are much more subjective. They ask the question “How well does all of this work, and can it be improved?”, and to answer these questions, we’ll first need to define what it means for things to work properly. This section in particular is much more labor intensive, and in this draft much more sketchy. We’ll see how far we can get into it in our actual analysis work.
Take a look at the spreadsheet [pdf], and let me know what you think!