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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative data storage (of excel files)
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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative data storage (of excel files)



On Tuesday 15 January 2008 04:58:13 pm Ken Bloom wrote:
> On Tue, 15 Jan 2008 09:33:44 -0800
>
> Dylan Beaudette <dylan.beaudette@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > some of the people in my lab are interested in collaboratively
> > compiling a large quantity of environmental data- each user appending
> > several hundred measurements of several variables every week.
> >
> > They are currently emailing around a spread sheet file and there have
> > been numerous data accidents. Now they are asking to put the file
> > onto a shared drive, so that they can access it remotely. This sounds
> > like a terrible idea to me- even worse than the previous attempt.
> >
> > The data are essentially rows and cols of numbers that are added to
> > and edited weekly.
> >
> > At first I thought subversion might be helpful, but revision control
> > doesn't work so well with binary data (excel files)... unless there
> > is something I don't know about. It would be hard to detect
> > conflicts, or to merge data. However, it would allow for timestamps
> > and revision numbers to provide some level of authority.
> >
> > Designing some kind of database-driven system seems like a logical
> > choice, but I do not have the time to do this. Perhaps there is
> > already something out there.
> >
> > Does anyone have some insight into how to solve this data management
> > nighmare?
>
> In what format do your colleagues generate their data to begin with?
> Is this append-only or are there updates too?
>
> --Ken

They work exclusively with Excel. 

A discussion about this problem with my sig. other last night resulted in 
mutual distrust of the way most people in academics and "professional" 
circles are handling data. There really should be a 'data management' course 
which is either part of the Technical Writing courses (which are required) or 
taught as a single quarter class. Everyone who is not in computer science or 
mathematics should be required to either test out of the course or take it.

Dylan
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