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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 2008-01-15, wrote Dylan Beaudette:
> 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.

Their idea is distilled evil! But you already knew that.

> 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?

The right way to do this is to use a database. But, an easier
maybe-almost-as-good solution might be to use subversion and save the
data as CSV text files (excel can do this just fine). It is useful to
add comment lines (maybe you could have an internal convention about
this) that help subversion to figure out where to merge in changes.

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