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Pre-Week 1 (May 13 - May 17)

Met with previous research team and discussed code.
Did on-line SQL tutorials.
Posted ad for user study.

Though my official start date was May 20, I actually started the project before this date. For a few days of the previous week, I met the research team that Jen worked with during the academic year, I did SQL tutorial on-line, and I also started the recruitment process for the user study. 

Meeting the other research team members was a very valuable experience. Since one of my possible concentrations may have been the database, I met with the woman who designed the original database. We walked through the mechanics of it, and I was able to ask her clarifying questions and talk about possible improvements. I recommend DMP participants to meet with other research members if possible, before the research members take off for their summer projects. Reading and working with someone else's code is often a daunting task, especially if it is commented in ways you wouldn't personally comment it. 

I also spent a few days learning about SQL and doing on-line tutorials.  There is a tutorial on the MySQL site .  Another good tutorial, linked on the MySQL site, is A Gentle Introduction to SQL, developed by Andrew Cumming in the UK.  

During this previous week, I also placed an ad on Craigslist to recruit participants for our user study, my first and primary project for the summer. (Craigslist ( is a valuable on-line community bulletin board in San Francisco. One can post numerous types of ads for free or for nominal fees. We're very fortunate to have such a popular and respected resource here in the Bay Area.)  Here's a copy of the ad.

For more journal entries, click on the links to the left.  I've learned a lot about user studies and have highlighted important lessons in sections titled "User Study Lessons" (within the journal entries).

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