Archive for September, 2015

What does AskAway sound like?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The Access 2015 conference (September 8-11) included a hackfest session led by York University’s William Denton, who taught attendees how to use Sonic Pi to turn data into sound. The idea is to explore different ways of representing data, which may tell you things about your data that you hadn’t realized.

With some rather basic Ruby coding (which the software helps you with), you can take a data set, read it into the program, and generate music. (Bill provides instructions here.)

We had to pick some data to work with, and what data is more readily available and interesting than AskAway usage statistics? So I took the Form Fields data from January 2015, which includes a record for each question, and read it into the software thus:

  • Arranged questions in order of date and time entered
  • Assigned each patron’s institution to one of the five AskAway tiers
  • Assigned each tier a note
  • Assigned each note a length based on the length of the chat session