Between the Spreadsheets: Classifying and Fixing Dirty Data

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Dirty data is a problem that costs businesses thousands, if not millions, every year. In organizations large and small across the globe you will hear talk of data quality issues. What you will rarely hear about is the consequences or how to fix it.

Between the Spreadsheets: Classifying and Fixing Dirty Data draws on classification expert Susan Walsh’s decade of experience in data classification to present a foolproof method for cleaning and classifying your data. The book covers everything from the very basics of data classification to normalization, taxonomies, and presents the author’s proven COAT methodology, helping ensure an organization’s data is Consistent, Organised, Accurate and Trustworthy. A series of data horror stories outlines what can go wrong in managing data, and if it does, how it can be fixed.

After reading this book, regardless of your level of experience, not only will you be able to work with your data more efficiently, but you will also understand the impact the work you do with it has, and how it affects the rest of the organization.

Written in an engaging and highly practical manner, Between the Spreadsheets gives readers of all levels a deep understanding of the dangers of dirty data and the confidence and skills to work more efficiently and effectively with it.

Susan Walsh

Susan Walsh is Founder and Managing Director of The Classification Guru, a specialist data classification, taxonomy customisation and data cleansing consultancy. Susan’s work provides clarity and accuracy to data to help businesses work more effectively, find cost savings through spend and time management, support better and more informed business decisions and deliver strong ROI. Susan has classified data across a number of different sectors, countries and languages, as well as managing and training teams to do the same. She is author of numerous articles on data issues and is a 2021 TEDx speaker and British Data Awards finalist.

"If you are teaching data science then all your students should be made aware of this book. When it comes to organizations. I can't see any reason for not making sure that anyone managing an Excel data base has a copy to refer to ... Excellent value for the price."
—Martin White, Informer

"I gained many practical tips for using a spreadsheet to clean data, and alternate ways of approaching classification while reading this book—there is hope for cleaner data!"
—Mary Silvia Whittaker, SLA Taxonomy

"The need for protection against the insidious effects of dirty data, which is broadly defined as anything incorrect, is the basis for the COAT metaphor. COAT stands for consistent, organized, accurate, and trustworthy. Throughout the book, Walsh argues that these four data qualities are interdependent and essential for a well-functioning business ... The real-life examples help solidify the importance of context, communication, and, of course, COATs when it comes to data work. While not written for librarians, Between the Spreadsheets is a good title for anyone whose job involves working with or presenting data. In the era of data-driven decision making, that encompasses a large percentage of the library profession."
Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship