Organizing Text and Numerical Data
Juliana’s great post about Visualizing and Organizing data inspired me to follow up with my own post on the subject. I too have been using Excel spreadsheets to kept track of my research data. I have my data organized into 4 different tabs: zine centers, network hubs, zine events, and zine titles. Each of these tabs will represent a different record type in URT. Here’s a screenshot: of the “zine centers” tab (with 32 records)

zine centers excel

And here’s one of the “zine titles” tab (with a whopping 2910 records).

zine titles

The process of compiling these spreadsheets helped a lot in terms of identifying what fields I wanted for my record types. Each tab represents a different record type; each row represents a single record, and each column represents the fields in the record.

They also helped me identify how the different records would link up to one another. Each zine title has designated columns (fields) for “Current Location”, “Where previously acquired”, and “zine events.” Each of these fields include reference data that point to a different record type (a zine center, network hub, or zine event).

Manually cutting and pasting each field from the zine titles sheet into URT isn’t really feasible in the time that I have, so I think I might have to look into selecting some sample zines titles for now to upload. But once the batch upload tool becomes available, I’ll have a lot of data to work with!

Organizing Citations
Though I found the excel spreadsheets really useful for organizing text and numerical data, I found them less useful for keeping track of citations and multimedia assets. I’ve worked with zotero before, and found it really useful for organizing my research notes and sites I’ve visited. Since I do my research from a variety of sites, I also like to try to keep everything backed up in the cloud so I can easily transfer information back and forth between computers. Here’s a screenshot of my zotero collections, which I’ve organized according to record type as well.

zotero

I also always upload my excel workbook to google docs.

Organizing Multimedia
My multimedia assets are a little all over the place at the moment. I’m pulling some of my images with creative commons licenses from sites like Flickr, and am keeping them organized in my zotero files for now. For the images I’ve taken myself, one tool I’ve found useful is Fotki, a free image hosting service.