Sunday, January 9, 2011

Needlebase: Deadbased


What is it?
My pride and joy! This was my first major domain building effort when Needle opened up public accounts. It's also the largest domain I have going right now with over 80,000 nodes. Basically, I scraped every entry in the Internet Archives' Grateful Dead Collection, the famed Deadbase, and a few other sites that track the same performance information and put that info under one hood. There's some interesting stuff going on with the data schema I developed but that's a story for another time.

Why is this interesting?
In a sea of Deadbase clones, this one is unique in that we're looking at multiple sources at the same time. As Miley would say, that's pretty cool. Needle enables us to pull everything back together in a non-destructive way that can quantify differences and create a controlled vocabulary that could, in theory, actually improve usability (time will tell).

Where is it going in the future?
Ultimately I would like to build a custom browser for the entire thing with venue details right down to the weather report for that day in history. Something beyond just a front-end for and more towards interactive data visualization with a built in media player.

Next on the list is a meta-data explorer that would be something like Oregon Trail on acid (unintentional joke, but true in some cases -- just replace Oxen with VW Bus and hunting with magnetic tape and soundboards). This would allow a person to "follow" the shows from, lets say '68, on a map/timeline, and see who made it to what show and in what order on a map. I feel like this is the sort of thing people miss when they first browse the GD collection on even though the data is all there. Something like this, if/when built, would be a great example of building AI into the interface.

Oh, and let's not forget our west coast friends at UC Santa Cruz :) On my radar, but I need to do a lot more cleaning to make this domain presentable. 

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