Chang, Lawrence. “The Universal Sports Database”, Boston College, 2008. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/538.
With vast amounts of data in the world, organization becomes a challenge. The success of data driven web services (IMDb, YouTube, Google Maps, Wikipedia, et cetera) all hinge on their ability to present information in an intuitive manner with user friendly interfaces. One area that fails to have such a service is sports statistics. With the ubiquitous appeal of sports, having a solution to this problem can be universally beneficial. Many sites exist that have statistics of different sports, but there are limitations to all of them. Since there is very little continuity among all sports, statistics are represented disparately.There are several problems with this approach. Any time there needs to be a change to the informational structure, the entire database and interface need to change. In addition, there can never be a single interface if there are different schemas for different sports, leading to a user unfriendly interface.My system uses a unique schema that is capable of representing statistics from any sport, no matter how unique. Adding new statistics to a sport to reflect rule changes or adding a new sport altogether are seamless. In addition, the web interface is structured by Rails, which changes automatically with the schema.Challenges included developing a universal sports schema and testing it sufficiently enough to prove its generality. Finding and extracting the data to populate the database also presented difficulties.