Alyson Gamble, Week 4: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

I just realized that the titles of my posts aren’t in a standardized format, so I won’t complain too much about nonstandard entries in data sets–at least not this week. 😉
In the last few days, I’ve made some progress on hand analyzing the schools (seems done) and the occupational data (not done). What is done is me using R for this project. I’m officially no longer trying to “fix” things using R. R has a lot of great capabilities, and I usually like working in it, but it wasn’t serving me for this particular project. Sometimes the best thing to do is to admit that something’s not working, and move on to a different system.
Thanks to my mentor, Caroline, I’ve collected more useful resources to help with the next steps of the project. I’m also following advice from Caroline and several LEADS people, including other 2019 fellows, and looking at OpenRefine as my antidote for the street data. As Bridget pointed out in a comment on the last post, the way we talk about addresses isn’t standard: six miles outside of town doesn’t exactly correspond to an exact set of coordinates.
My goals to accomplish by next Friday are: (1) create a slide and one-minute recording for the advisory board meeting on my work thus far + (2) find some genuinely fun things to add to that slide, such as interesting ways to refer to geographic locations + (3) be genuinely “done” with the school and occupational data. Then I can start working in OpenRefine.
As a final bit, Monica at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania wrote up a nice post about the work being done on this project, which you can read here: https://hsp.org/blogs/fondly-pennsylvania/enhancing-access-through-data-visualization

Alyson Gamble
Doctoral Student, Simmons University

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