Culture Data
Understand History and Place

How Does Culture Data Benefit Us?
Anyone who has ever searched the internet for information about a historic site or a famous writer, or for ancestry information, is taking advantage of the vast amounts of culture data available from keying a simple phrase into a search engine. Making that data available is the goal of dedicated historians, government agencies, libraries, corporations, and many other sources.   
Information Included in Culture Data
Gathering, cataloging, and publishing culture data can be based on and cross-referenced on a very diverse set of criteria, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Race
  • Subject
  • Religion
  • Business
  • Ethnicity

Recording culture data with the most complete set of data references for every available category simplifies research efforts and makes it more likely that interested individuals, cultural groups, or detailed studies will be able to retrieve the information they seek.
Maximizing the Potential of Culture Data
There are a multitude of uses for culture data:
Individuals wanting to plan a vacation to destinations of historic interest may query for states or countries with the most interesting museums, most expansive offerings for the performing arts, or even areas steeped in religious history.
Businesses considering expanding into new areas can utilize culture data to locate municipalities composed of particular employment opportunities or ethnic diversity they need to target specific goods and services.
Entertainment producers may want to know what cities have neighborhoods that are populated primarily by Latino cultures or those with German heritage, to scout potential film locations.
Planning on opening a performing arts center for live theater? Combine data culture search criteria to include both cities that have little or no such centers today, but may have active participation in such activities in intermediate education.
Corporations searching for preferred employment candidates can utilize culture data to focus recruiting efforts to uncover geographic areas with high levels of particular groups such as veterans.
Selling luxury items? Put culture data to use in finding hotbeds of dual-income families with higher levels of education. This represents potential target areas for marketing campaigns.
Good or bad, politicians have utilized culture data for decades in exploring opportunities for campaigning, creating focus groups, and reaching out to like-minded constituents and seeking volunteers.
These examples barely scratch the surface of the potential uses for culture data, but the point is well taken as to the value of the information. There are, however caveats to be considered in the use and application of culture data.
Be Sure the Content and Use of Culture Data Are Well Understood
To maximize the value of culture data, it’s important to understand the content and focus of the data itself:
Content – What is included in the data? Probing for specific contemporary arts centers for potentially marketing services or erecting displays may be dependent on whether or not the venues are for-profit or non-profit. Be sure this distinction is available in selection criteria or the data itself to get the results that are sought.
Scope – Does the culture data encompass all aspects that are critical to the analysis? Looking for unique architectural examples in a data sampling that includes only certain countries may not produce the information anticipated.
Source – Who or what team submitted the data for use, and what was the intent? This could very well determine the value of the data for any specific study or analytical use. Further, knowing the source could impact the very credibility of the data and resulting analysis. Culture data that is partially comprised of surveys, for example, could be skewed to a greater extent than data available compiled from historical or governmental agencies.
Audience – Besides knowing the data, know the audience that is expected to use the data. Ensure the results will produce reliable and useful data for them.
Level of detail – For many purposes, it is more effective to start from the lowest level of data possible, rather than aggregate culture data. For example, summarized data may reveal that artists’ gross income in the US is $65k, but further digging may uncover the fact that a NYC artist makes $95k, and a similar artist in Tulsa earns $40k. If those variations are important for a particular study or presentation, utilize the culture data accordingly.
Currency of the culture data – Certainly less critical to data of a historical nature, it’s important to understand the dates the data was acquired and covers. Today’s employment trends combined with the constant movement of the workforce can generate short-term shifts in the ethnic composition, making culture data from even two years ago inaccurate for future decisions.
Culture data is invaluable for analysis in the arts, historical research, literature, and many other purposes. It’s also important to make sure the data utilized is evaluated thoroughly to ensure the end results accomplish the intent of the research.
Keywords: Culture Data
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