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Re: Discover data patterns or Create data patterns?

  • From: Steve Newcomb <srn@c...>
  • To: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@m...>
  • Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2008 11:31:32 -0400

Re:  Discover data patterns or Create data patterns?
By definition, all patterns are perceived. Math, for example, is a human 
invention.

Of course, no patterns are perceived in places where nobody looks. And 
many patterns are perceived even when they are actually disconfirmed by 
the evidence being perceived.

The more you look, the more patterns you perceive. Only those who have 
already perceived much know this secret. That's why the expert is more 
likely than the novice to "pickle himself in the data" before relying on 
his perceptions of patterns in it.

Costello, Roger L. wrote:
> Hi Folks,
>
> Recently I read this:
>
> "One of the most important axioms in the discipline of Information
> Architecture states that designers are the ones who uncover patterns
> inherent in data, and expose them in an interface." [1]
>
> I was particularly struck by these words: "uncover patterns inherent in
> data".
>
> I got to thinking, 
>
>     - How does one uncover patterns in data? 
>
>     - Does data have inherent patterns?
>
>     - What is a data pattern?
>
> I looked at regular expressions, e.g.
>
>     [a-zA-Z]*[0-9]*
>
> This regular expression specifies a "pattern"; namely zero or more
> letters of the alphabet followed by zero or more digits.
>
> This is a low-level pattern, at the character level.
>
> What are patterns at the document level?
>
> When I create an XML instance document I am (implicitly) stating,
>  
>    - Here is a data pattern I think is useful.
>
> Do you agree?
>
> For example, I discovered a pattern in BookStores: they are comprised
> of multiple Books. And I discovered a pattern in Books: they are
> comprised of a Title, an Author, a Date of publication, an ISBN, and a
> Publisher. I can expose these patterns like this:
>
> <BookStore>
>      <Book>
>          <Title>The Art & Science of Web Design</Title>
>          <Author>Jeffrey Veen</Author>
>          <Date>2001</Date>
>          <ISBN>0-7897-2379-0</ISBN>
>          <Publisher>New Riders</Publisher>
>      </Book>
>      ...
> </BookStore>
>
> QUESTIONS
>
> 1. Are data patterns discovered, or, are data patterns created?
>
> 2. Are data patterns descriptive, or, are data patterns prescriptive?
>
> 3. What's the difference between a "master" data designer versus a
> "novice" data designer? 
>
> 4. Does this characterize the difference: a master data designer
> discovers patterns intrinsic in data whereas a novice data designer
> engineers a pattern?
>
> 5. Are there steps that a person can take to transition from a novice
> data designer to a master data designer?
>
> /Roger
>
> [1] The Art & Science of Web Design by Jeffrey Veen
>
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