Data Entry

Back when Shannon McPherron was doing his dissertation data collection in the late 1980s, he wrote a QuickBasic program to do data entry. This program, written in collaboration with Harold Dibble and Simon Holdaway, followed on two previous programs and so was called Entrer Trois. It ran under DOS and worked with a user defined configuration file. The idea was to have something that worked for McPherron's dissertation (on stone tools) but that could also be easily adapted to collected other kinds of data.

Later McPherron re-wrote the program in VisualBasic to have a Windows version. This program, named E4, is still in use today. It uses the same configuration file format, but the database is based on Microsoft Access. While it still works on Windows 10, its days may be numbered, and it is disappointing not to have something that is cross-platform (including now mobile platforms).

So, more recently, McPherron re-wrote the program from scratch in Python. This program, now called E5, backwards compatible with the E4 configuration file format, however, it will modify the configuration file and make it incompatible with E4. The database is now in plain text (ASCII). Though internally the program organizes the data in a JSON format, the data can be exported to a comma and quote delimited file (CSV). The program is still in beta (meaning that it has some bugs and lacks some features), but it is now being used by some. You can find it on McPherron's GitHub pages.