Q: What are some best practices for structuring my data before uploading it to LiveStories?


  • Find ways of reshaping the data from "wide" to "long" ... wide is typically easier for people to read, but our system offers more options when the data is long.
    • Another way of thinking of it: if you have multiple columns with the same type of data within it (such as data for different specific  ethnicities), you want to think about transposing it so that data is in rows rather than columns.
    • An example might be if you had several columns with age or year data. You’ll want to bring that data into the same column labeled “age” or “year” with all of the info within that single column.
  • Our system can process files up to 25 MB in size. 
  • Our system can process a maximum of about 40 columns of data, but files with fewer columns will go in much faster.
  • You’ll want to remove data you won’t be using. Think about the story you want to tell, and consider removing extraneous data.
  • Delete comments, images, extra rows & columns
  • The more columns you have, the more processing time the system will need, because LiveStories is working out all the different ways the data can be compared.
  • It’s best to use friendly names as column titles, as they will show up on your charts
  • Terms we recognize for creating maps: country, state, county, city, zip code, latitude and longitude, and census tract.
  • Terms we recognize for time: year, day, month, age (as in people)
  • Remember to save as .csv before uploading
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