Ever to Excel: Towards an Apologetics of the Spreadsheet On and Of(f) the Web

As technologists in the cultural heritage domain, we are in a constant struggle between chaos and order with data for which we have some responsibility. In particular, our professional lives are exposed to that struggle through the form of spreadsheets. Some of us malign this as a common, unsatisfactory representation or an insufficient replacement for a database, citing it as the source of poorly controlled values. Others still may see spreadsheets as a manifestation of where our supposedly turnkey, integrated systems begin to fail us. Through a process of reflection, reeducation, and reconciliation, there is hope to redeem yourself from this problematic view. This talk will focus on presenting a studied defense of the value of spreadsheets from the perspective of the user, by considering them in their historical and contemporary contexts as both a *program* and *data*. Specifically, this combination gives end users -- who do not self-identify as developers -- a large amount of freedom to work with their data as domain experts. We will also investigate how, despite the increasing separation of tabular data from the program, this idea holds still using the emergent work of the W3C's CSV on the Web Working Group.

01:15 PM
15 minutes