Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creating the Whiskey Data Table

As I mentioned in the last post, the whiskey poster I am using as my initial knowledge source has almost 450 different whiskey brands listed. These brands represent the many options a whiskey drinker has from which to choose. In a Recommender with a smaller number of options, like the Beach Town Recommender, these possible choices can be added as notes to the KnowtShare file and dropped directly into the classification tree, becoming the 'leaves' of that tree. However, 450 notes would be difficult to work with in a visual environment. Data tables are better at that.

So I switched from KnowtShare to Excel and began creating my data table.

I began by creating columns that aligned with the classes and sub-classes I had established in my classification tree.

Each row in the table is an option that can be recommended. The first column should always hold the option name; in this particular example it is a particular brand of whiskey. 

I should point out that 'brand' is not the lowest possible level I could go in whiskey database. A particular brand can have many variants. For example, Macallan, a very fine scotch, comes in Macallan 12, 18 and 21, the number in the name referring to the number of years the whiskey has been aged. There is a basic Macallan, which is aged exclusively in sherry seasoned casks, and a Macallan Fine Oak, which is aged in a combination of sherry and bourbon seasoned oak for a lighter flavor.

In fact, the variants of whiskey seem to be endless, so to make the Recommender manageable I decided to stop at the brand level. This has its own challenges, because my next step will be to add some attributes to the table, attributes like 'taste' and 'price'. Any attributes I add will need to be generalizations, in a sense, because they will be referring to a group of whiskeys that vary in age, process and bottle size. If the data in this table could be crowd-sourced in some way it would be possible to account for this complexity, but as a demonstration app (which is what I am building) I will need to make some simplifying assumptions.

My next task is to expand the table by adding attributes to the whiskey brands.

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