Monday, February 15, 2010

Easy Data Collection

Megan McArdle alerted me first to the possibility, then there was a more elaborate post here.

What's the possibility?  Using a Google Docs spreadsheet/form combo to capture data.  In McArdle's case, she's using it to capture the name and addresses for her wedding invitees.  As a bureaucrat, I can't help but remember a number of occasions when I would have liked an ad-hoc report from state offices.  But trying to get Kansas City to gin up a short report was difficult.  Granted, in many cases the data I wanted was sitting in the county files and could be extracted by using Query/36 and uploaded, but there were some cases where asking the office to data load something would have been helpful.

Now, thanks to Google, it's available.  Or, to be realistic, it would be except undoubtedly the FSA hierarchy will put some limits and restrictions on using Google, like: "Do not ever use it."

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