Author Topic: What To Do With The Searchable Database  (Read 3096 times)

Kathy

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What To Do With The Searchable Database
« on: July 15, 2013, 03:32:29 pm »
Hi all -

As some of you know, a group of us created a searchable database of places, ships, and people mentioned in the logs of the ships we were working on.  I would like to know what people want to do with this database - I haven't seen a lot of entries in it for Phase III ships, and I don't think it is used very often.  If it is not proving to be useful, then I'll shut it down and import the data in it into an Exel spread sheet.

AvastMH

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2013, 06:44:48 pm »
Oh Kathy - I've often thought about the database  :-[ :'(. It seems a shame not to use it - I wish it had been around for longer when I started - it would have helped so much. I think that it should be as accessible as possible for our editor's (and it should prove useful for some of our US ships too no doubt).
Trouble is it feels safer having it in a database than having it in excel where diseases might abound. Perhaps one of our IT experts might help with the security of it in Excel?  :D

Kathy

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2013, 06:58:41 pm »
If enough people think it useful, I'll keep it in SODA - I may be wrong, but I don't think Excel is searchable - it is a spreadsheet and not a database.  There is a small fee associated with SODA, which I'm happy to pay, but if the database isn't being used, then I'll import the data to Excel and see about moving it here on the Forum. 

Helen J

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 07:02:52 pm »
I'm glad you've asked; I've been feeling guilty about not having added anything for a while.  I'd be really sorry to lose it, and I wonder whether it might come into its own again as editing continues, and some editors might have time and inclination to go back through their edited logs and enter up at least some of the information in the database.  I do think it being searchable is crucial; as a spreadsheet it would lose a lot of its functionality.

Does it need a bit of a publicity campaign to remind everyone it exists, and encourage them to use it?  If people find it useful in their own searches, they might be encouraged to enter more information into it for the common good.

Randi

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2013, 07:46:42 pm »
I've felt guilty about it too. For a long time I added everything faithfully, but when I went back to transcribing after working on other things I didn't go back to the database :-[
I agree with Helen that it may be better adapted to editing than transcribing. Publicity in the Editorial Office?
Perhaps we made it too complicated :-\

Helen J

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 08:00:49 pm »
Perhaps it needs to be made very clear that there's no expectation that anyone adds in everything from their log (I know it was never said that we should, but you know what a lot of us are like!)  It would be possible just to add details of identifiable people for example, to help people doing research on their family history.  Or just ships stopped by Northern Patrol ships.  Or ... or ...  It might make it seem a more manageable part of transcribing or editing?

studentforever

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2013, 08:03:11 pm »
I had a lot on my plate when you introduced it, I looked at some of the early stuff and my brain said 'Do you expect me to cope with THAT!!' so I ducked out.

Now I am looking at a log with quite a lot of ship interaction and thinking - some history pedant would love to be able to extact this data without manually going through the entire log but where do I start.

I think a step by step instruction for database Newbies is required if you are going to keep it.

Kathy

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2013, 08:26:36 pm »
There is a comprehensive Data Dictionary, located in several Fora topics.  Here is one:
http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=2873.0

It defines terms, provides information on the fields, and gives step by step instructions for data entry and searching.

I thought it was clear that use was strictly voluntary - but we do tend to be enthusiastic about things  ;D

Maybe I should ask Gordon to include something about it on his web site.

Craig

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2013, 08:39:50 pm »
I thought when you first proposed the SODA database that one could be built directly from the data we enter into the Mentions and Location tabs without a lot of effort. It wouldn't be as good as what you designed, Kathy, but it would be more complete and wouldn't require any extra work from us. This could be added to or replace the SODA file. Philip or one of his people might be able to dump out a flat file of selected fields for ALL the logs we have ever done that could be imported into SODA or some other application.

Kathy

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2013, 08:50:54 pm »
I did give that some thought when first designing the SODA database, but one thing to consider, especially for the RN ships, is that a lot of the data I wanted to capture was included in the EVENTS tab - I myself rarely used the MENTIONS tab.  In Phase III, I do use it, and I assume others do also, so maybe for the Phase III ships, Arfon and the other programers may be able to design something easy and automatic.

Helen J

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2013, 09:03:26 pm »
Given the very mixed quality of transcriptions I think anything automatic could be misleading as well as inaccurate, and would probably need checking by hand in any case.  You can get three different versions of names of people or ships; and a lot is just left out altogether.  I do think it's probably best done at the editing stage - but I realise not all editors would want to add this job.

I think the existing information about how to use it is good - I managed to make it work OK and I hadn't had much practice with databases before.  Getting Gordon to put something on his website is a good idea; if his users are keen to make use of it, it would be an encouragement to us to build it into our transcribing/editing.

Randi

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2013, 09:35:53 pm »
Quote
Getting Gordon to put something on his website is a good idea; if his users are keen to make use of it, it would be an encouragement to us to build it into our transcribing/editing.
YES

Craig

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2013, 11:40:09 pm »
Given the very mixed quality of transcriptions I think anything automatic could be misleading as well as inaccurate, and would probably need checking by hand in any case.  You can get three different versions of names of people or ships; and a lot is just left out altogether.  I do think it's probably best done at the editing stage - but I realise not all editors would want to add this job.


You being a history editor, Helen, I understand your reluctance to present a a database with raw information. However, if you think of it as simply a search tool that can lead someone to the information they want, it doesn't matter as much if it contains inaccurate data. If only one of the three transcribers gets it right, the log page will be found in a search and the desired log page can then be viewed. In fact, in cases where the handwriting is not clear it can be an advantage to keep all three transcriptions. Perfection is not required for this function since the ultimate goal is the log page, not the database.

It was clearly asking too much to have us enter the same information it two different places.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 12:12:20 am by Craig »

Kevin

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2013, 03:20:57 am »
I guess this pre-dates me. What does it do?

Janet Jaguar

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Re: What To Do With The Searchable Database
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2013, 03:57:42 am »
Kathy and crew tried to put a whole lot of everything into a real database, that proved to be difficult to enter and to use.  First try on our learning curve on how to make reference lists.  We all thought it would be much more useful, and I rather hope we can still make all that data available and usable, even if it is only using Excel sheets again.

Hi all -
...


I have created a guest log-on ID for the searchable database.  If you want to look up something, use this link:

https://sodadb.com/tH1PRxKsfWrxp8NnMWMi

and the following email address:

oldweatherguest@gmail.com

You will be able to search for and view records in the database, but will not be able to change them or add new ones.  If you wish to become a full user of the database, please message me your email address and I'll get up set up.

Kathy
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 03:59:33 am by Janet Jaguar »