Data Management Strategies and the Ig Nobel Awards

The Burton Group provides analysis in about half-a-dozen coverage areas, and we have modeled our IT-related wiki spaces on those coverage areas (e.g., Collaboration and Content Management).  One of the areas we don’t hold a current Burton Group subscription for is Data Management Strategies, which is a pity, because there’s some terrific content coming through there.

i’ve been following @BurtonGroupIT on Twitter for a while, and one of the analysts has taken a Data Management Strategies approach to understanding some outputs from the recently-published 2009 Ig Nobel awards.  For example:

  • A previously-overlooked advantage of semantically rich identifiers: The veterinary medicine prize went to Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing that cows with names give more milk than nameless cows.  If you’re scoffing at the existence of a prize for veterinary medicine, well, you’re probably the cold-hearted sort who distinguishes cows by COW_ID or some other method that denies the essential dignity of our bovine friends.

…so, cows that have names produce more milk than cows that have only numbers.  There’s likely to be some other factor at play here (herd size, living conditions, other matters), but it’s a beautiful proposition, and the benefits of semantically-rich identifiers take on this is interesting.

The article from the Burton Group about the Ig Nobel awards is at


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