Problems Encountered

Overall, the project was pretty successful in that we were able to gather, clean, and visualize data. We did have other data bases in mind to scrape from, including the National Register of Historic Places and the Historical Marker Database. Unfortunately, we were unable to scrape the National Register of Historic Places because we would have had to search for specific phrases, which would end up leaving out a lot of useful data. The Historical Marker Database was very similar. It was basically just a bunch of records, somewhat grouped into categories, but they were inconsistent categories that would have been difficult to gather all the data on a certain subject that didn't belong in any one group that was there. The National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database let us scrape everything in their "monuments" category, and we gathered about 250 records from that database, which was a decent number of records to work with. The only issue we encountered with Webscraper was the difficulty in having the Webscraper automatically go to and scrape the next page, but once we figured out that the selector with the command to go to the next page needed to have itself and the root as its parent selector, then we were able to scrape with no problems.

Open Refine was a great too to use to separate the columns with multiple pieces of data into separate columns. It was also a useful tool for editing the text using the text facet, as some of the records, though they said the same thing, may have an extra space somewhere or a capital letter where we wanted all lowercase. I did not have any problems using OpenRefine, as it is a very user friendly program.

Finally, we were able to take our data and visualize it with Tableau. Tableau was the easiest program to use, and thus only had one issue. One of the charts we made had too much data to fit in one image, so it had a scroll bar to see the rest of the data. Unfortunately, we were not able to embed the charts into the site because we had to create multiple different Tableau accounts and save it to an online site before we could get a URL to embed in the site.

Concerning the data itself, it would have been beneficial to have been able to gather more from the other databased, and also to gather more information beyond the location of the monuments and the origin location of military units, like which side they were from, and when they were dedicated. Overall, after some initial frustrations with Webscraper, we were able to successfully gather, clean, and create visualizations with our data that better enabled us to identify patterns and trends in our data.