Construction and Use of the Data Base

The Flints' overarching focus has been on expanding knowledge of individual members of the Expedition to Tierra Nueva and Native Americans it encountered, that would help understand the events, motivations, and outcomes of the expedition and Spain's century of conquest and reconnaissance in general. Toward that end, between 2004 and 2010 the Flints  conducted extensive research in twenty-eight archives in Spain, Mexico, and the United States (listed in Section 2 above). It is the results of that labor that comprise the present data base. In the years since they completed major research, the Flints have collated and analyzed the resulting data and have written a major book based on them, to which this online data source is a digital companion.

Since the book manuscript was completed in 2017, Professor Kevin Comerford, Director of Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communication, and Mary Wise, Digital Humanities Librarian, both in the University of New Mexico Libraries, have labored skillfully and with imagination to plan and implement digital presentation of the data.

Cleaning this data took effort given how much information was contained in the materials that the Flints provided. The flints provided information in two types of documents: Rosters and Flint Data Sheets. In the data sheets, the Flints had several original categories. DISC faculty and staff, then, added additional categories to make cleaning the data easier to visualize. The data provided to DISC was directly from the Flints which means it was qualitatively rich. The quantitiative data present in the documnents provided, then, needed to be cleaned to be made legible. Open access programs for data cleaning like Open Refine was crucial to the success of this project and the translation of this qualitatively rich data to quantitatively rich data. 

Using Open Refine, historical research, and consultation with the Flints, DISC faculty and staff stripped geographic data out of the documents provided. For the visualizations of the biographies, DISC faculty and staff used Flint estimations of modern locations. For the Place of Birth visualization, too, DISC faculty and staff used a very similar method: Strip geographic data from the existing data set, confirm with the Flints, and map the point on an ArcGIS map. 

For the rosters, transparency remained important for the Flints. Their goal is to ensure that users can see how many historical sources that they consluted to draw their conclusions about members of the Coronado Expedition. In the References section, users can find the citations for sources sorted chornologically. Sources are broken down by decade. Other sources included in each reference are Other Info and Relatives. These headers are important because historical sources can be disparate and their can be other connections between historical figures in seemingly unrelated histrorical collections.