Dear future CURI students (for this project, at least),

A few words of advice.

As you’ve undoubtedly realized by now, finding information is relatively easy. Plugging into the spreadsheet in a usable fashion, though, may be turning out to be slightly more gnarly. All those categories, and yet you still wonder where everything fits, or you’re in a tizzy because you don’t have all the information. Never fear – we, the pioneering team, have sage guidelines for you.

It is quite possible that, by the time you read this, the present team will have put some time into streamlining the spreadsheet. Even so, coming face to face with such a large, multifaceted volume of information will be …terrifying. Therefore, my first point of advice is simply to familiarize yourselves with the different categories. Come to understand the difference between, say, the impresario and the patron (and if Dr. Epstein has published his article on the discussion of patronage by then, you might read that for some jargonal guidelines).

Once you understand just what information you’ll be looking for à propos the spreadsheet, your next point of entry will be…the entry form. This particular beast is a reflection of the spreadsheet categories, which will be useful to you as you break out into the wide world of research. However, you will also find that having multiple people entering similar yet different data points into the entry form simultaneously from various locations will lead to inconsistencies within the spreadsheet. These then have to be carefully tracked down and corrected – you cannot have a plethora of addresses for the same venue, or different spellings of the same item, because it will not only confuse the audience of our little project but, more importantly, the software itself. PLEASE do not mess with the mind of the computer/software/mapping technology (we’ve been fiddling with a few different options lately, so I’m not entirely certain what you’ll be getting yet).

For your convenience, therefore, the present team has compiled a separate spreadsheet with a designated address-venue correspondence. Even by glancing over this form, you will see the proper formatting for the information, spelling and capitalization rules that have been previously ordained, and lots of addresses for your ease of data entry. As a result, you have two options.

Option one, copy-paste. If you are using the entry form to implement data, then please copy-paste the venue names and addresses into the entry form from the index of venues.

Option two, skip the addresses until later. This works for both the entry form and, as you will learn, the easier method of entering data directly into the spreadsheet. The benefit of the latter is that it is easy to see how things are spelled in the spreadsheet or just copy-paste from within the sheet. More uniformity – less headache later on in the clean-up process.

One last word of caution – Google is notoriously stubborn when it comes to accent marks. You can add special characters in the Docs, but not in the spreadsheet or entry form. While this is easy to mend in a clean-up of composer names, because everyone knows that Faure means Fauré (or they will, because of how often the name comes up), other individuals, performers and audience members, for example, will be less notable. Find a way to enter the accents immediately, even if it takes opening up a Word Document and copying them from there. It will save so much trouble in the long run – truly!

Alas, we come to the close of my heartfelt missive to my successors. Heed this advice well, oh future research assistants, lest ye be trapped by the murky depths of data collection, from which there is no easy return.

Bonne chance!