Geek Alert! Spreadsheet Adventures

Having completed my spreadsheet of data for historic music loan data in early 19th century St Andrews, I’m keen to start the analysis.  Would that it was so easy!  I now embark on the sharp learning curve of making Excel do what I need it to do.

Graphs from spreadsheets?  Well, I can import data into a Word chart, so that’s a start. But I need to do more.  Anyway, I now have a duplicate spreadsheet for experimentation, to ensure I don’t damage the crucial raw data by accident!  My to-do list looks like this:-

  • Check a few cells where I suspect I slipped up on the data entry (only a few, but each must be double-checked). Then update the experimental sheet AND the crucial raw data sheet to ensure I never use incorrect data.
  • Ensure every empty cell is filled in with zero, to ensure calculations will be correct.
  • Categorise each of 450-odd Sammelbander so I can determine whether certain types went out overwhelmingly more than others:-
  • I – Instrumental; subdivided A – Assorted, H – Harp, K – Keyboard, S- Strings, W – Wind. Further subdivided L – Learning, where appropriate
  • V – Vocal; subdivided A – Assorted, D – Dramatic, R- Religious, S – Secular Songs. Further subdivided L – Learning, where appropriate
  • M – Mixed Instrumental and Vocal. Further subdivided using codes above.
  • Th – Theoretical (not an instrument)
  • Experiment with single volume graphs
  • Experiment with totals for male versus female loans (can I total individual columns, or should I extract columns to form separate spreadsheets?)
  • Experiment with how many volumes at a time can reasonably be displayed in graphic form

There are other questions I’d like to start to answer, too.  I have a list of every borrower, and I  have the data of their chronological borrowing activity, but I need to see if I can display this activity in graphic form.

  • Can I check these names against the archive catalogue to see what I can find out about them?
  • How feasible is it to go through the early proto-census document of St Andrews? Could I, for example, trace Mrs Bertram’s  girls’ boarding school at St Leonard’s?  (Double check date of proto-census document)

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