Tinderbox Forum

Using the new crosstab feature

One of the new features introduced in 8.5 is Crosstabs which provides a new view that helps summarise your notes and provide insights which would otherwise be difficult to extract.

Here I briefly outline how I use the new view for some of my work. Crosstabs generally can help answer questions based on the relationship between two attributes found in the pool (container if you will) of notes to be analysed. Some examples include:

  1. How well did students do on two exams (mid-term and final). Did for instance most students who did well on the mid-term also do well on the final exam ?

  2. The number of satellites launched for each space agency (NASA, ESA, JAXA, CONAE, ASI, DLR…) during each of the previous years ?

  3. Which meeting notes did I write down recently for each of my colleagues and on what date were they taken ?

  4. Which meeting notes did I write for each of my colleagues and for which project were they ?

  5. Do I tend to vary the width and height of my notes in Map view and if so in which way ?

Even if these questions are extremely diverse, you will see that they all build on pairs of specific attributes found in each input to the cross-tab. Going through these we see that they are 1) the mid-term and final marks of the students 2) space agency and year 3) date and colleague name 4) project and colleague name and 5) width and height of each note.

Let me make this general idea more specific. Consider an example container which I use to record all my meeting notes. Each of these notes has 2 attributes

  • $MyDate which I use to record the date/time of my meeting
  • $MyString which I use to record the name of the colleague I was meeting with

This is illustrated below where I’ve recorded 6 meeting notes with different colleagues at different times.

Ok - now I want to locate all my meeting notes with each of my colleagues and also remember when the meeting took place. Was the meeting recent or some time ago ? Have I met with one of my colleagues more frequently than with others ? On a specific day did I have several meetings and what did I actually record.

I have two attributes so a perfect match for the v8.5 new cross-tab feature. Below the result.

Here I’ve chosen to display the names of my co-workers as rows ($MyString) and the dates of the meeting ($MyDate) as columns.

What can I see ? First, I’ve met once with Jeremiah, twice with John and 3 times with Mary. This could reflect an on-going project with Mary that required more meetings. Second, I see that I haven’t had a meeting with Jeremiah for some time. Third, on March 6th I was very busy as I had two separate meetings with John and one with Mary. Fourth, my meetings with Mary are spread out over time. John on the other hand I met twice on the same day. I hope you get the idea.

This being Tinderbox I can dig much deeper. I can browse each note in turn and make adjustments. I retrieve all of the notes for a given cell by right clicking and generating an Agent for the cell to review in more detail. I can colour all meeting notes with John on the 06/03 red, I can export the table to Excel and work on it further etc…

I’ve only touched the surface of what can be done with cross-tabs but already it looks like a very powerful feature for this type of analysis providing additional context to the notes. I would enjoy hearing from other users how they use or plan to use the cross-tab feature.

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:+1::+1: Thank you very much.