It would be an impossible task for any single individual or even a single organization to amass the amount of data needed to adequately populate the XOWComics.com site. That is why we relied on many sources maintaining data related to the comic book industry to gain the breadth and depth that currently exists in the site. And, it is a continual job to both assure the accuracy of the data and to add to it new information and details that become available every day.
The volunteer editors within the XOWComics.com site are users just like you. In using the site, they found that they had some missing piece of information that would add to the experience and knowledge of everyone if it was available in the site. So, they became editors and new update and add information themselves to the site.
A little history: when XOWComics.com was launched in Janurary, 2010, it was not expected that any tools for directly modifying the data would be needed. There were already some sites that existed that allowed for direct management of comic book data and it seemed redundant to repeat this functionality. But, the early users of XOWComics.com continually bemoaned the state of editor tools in other sites. Once we took a closer look at the tools available in these sites, we knew that it could be done much better.
In April, 2010, we launched our first set of tools for users in the XOWComics.com site to manage the data themselves. We created the concept of "editors" that were permissions we could grant to individual user accounts to allow them access to the tools to manage the data directly themselves. And, we made it simple to , so any user could help in this task.
We made sure the editor tools act intuitively in the interface and in their functionality. In every case, additions, changes and deletions to the data using the editor tools is reflected immediately by the editor. Tools are built directly into the individual pages so there is practically no extra navigation needed to use the editor tools. And, we made it simple to do practically any task needed to automate and streamline the management of the data in the XOWComics.com site for editors.
It is not uncommon for us to hear from experienced editors that they accomplish in just a couple of minutes the same amount of work that it would take anywhere from hours to days on other sites. And, that is the point of making the editor tools as technically advanced and well-designed as they possibly could be within the XOWComics.com site.
And, because the interface for the editor tools was designed to be so intuitive, there is very learning needed for new volunteer editors to go through the begin working. Training for new volunteer editors usually takes less than 10 minutes and involves basically pointing out the new tools available on different pages in the site.
Without a doubt, the volunteer editors for XOWComics.com have provided an invaluable service that we all benefit from. They can not be thanked enough and they can not ever realize just how valuable we all consider their time and efforts. This is especially true for the original handfull of volunteer editors that first urged XOWComics.com to build these editor tools into the site.
But, remember, everyone can be a volunteer editor. Even if you consider your experience or knowledge with comic book limited, it may just be that you know that one mote of data that noone else knows but could be so valuable and intriguing for everyone in the comic book industry.
So, do and help contribute to the XOWComics.com community and comic book industry as a whole.
Much of the data for the XOWComics.com site comes from external sources (at this time XOWComics.com has regular data updates from 4 external sources). The data is organized, cleaned, standardized and integrated into the site on a regular basis (bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly). All of the processes for importing and integrating data feeds from external sources are run while the site is live and fully functional, requiring no "down time" to import new data into the site.
All changes made to the data by the volunteer editors for XOWComics.com are fully tracked. When new data is imported, the corrections and additions made by XOWComics.com editors are checked against the new data coming in and the changes are all automatically integrated with the data. In this way, even if the same data comes in regarding individual items in the site, data that has already been changed by XOWComics.com editors, those changes will persist after many new data imports from external sources.
Part of this tracking of data changes is the tracking of changes in the data from the external data sources, as well. When there are multiple changes to individual pieces of information (e.g. a change in the copy of data within XOWComics.com and a change in the copy of data at an external source), the date of the individual changes are compared and the newest information is always made available. When such "collisions" occur in the data being imported, mechanisms are available for the conflicts to be resolved immediately so we can assure the most accurate data is always available within the XOWComics.com site.
Depending on the data source, more or less "scrubbing" of the data must be performed. No offense meant, but some of the data sources have relatively "dirty" data that requires significant cleaning, parsing, formatting and standardizing for the site to accurately understand the data for use in the tools and functionality made available through XOWComics.com. But, all of these processes are again run in the background without any need to interupt the operation of the site for any users. When an import is complete and all of the data integration is finished, the new dataset is just "automatically available" to all users of XOWComics.com immediately.
All of the data used within the XOWComics.com site is avaialble under some form of open source or creative commons licensing. Meaning, no proprietary data for the comic books, fanzines, etc., that is available in the XOWComics.com site is used. XOWComics.com also makes the data within the XOWComics.com site available under a similar free and creative commons license for anyone to use (use the contact us form for serious inquiries into using the XOWComics.com data in your systems).