Data Quality Whitepapers are Worthless

During a 1609 interview, William Shakespeare was asked his opinion about an emerging genre of theatrical writing known as Data Quality Whitepapers.  The "Bard of Avon" was clearly not a fan.  His famously satirical response was:

Data quality's but a writing shadow, a poor paper

That struts and frets its words upon the page

And then is heard no more:  it is a tale

Told by a vendor, full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing.


Four centuries later, I find myself in complete agreement with Shakespeare (and not just because Harold Bloom told me so).


Today is April Fool's Day, but I am not joking around - call Dennis Miller and Lewis Black - because I am ready to RANT.


I am sick and tired of reading whitepapers.  Here is my "Bottom Ten List" explaining why: 

  1. Ones that make me fill out a "please mercilessly spam me later" contact information form before I am allowed to download them remind me of Mrs. Bun: "I DON'T LIKE SPAM!"
  2. Ones that after I read their supposed pearls of wisdom, make me shake my laptop violently like an Etch-A-Sketch.  I have lost count of how many laptops I have destroyed this way.  I have starting buying them in bulk at Wal-Mart.
  3. Ones comprised entirely of the exact same information found on the vendor's website make www = World Wide Worthless.
  4. Ones that start out good, but just when they get to the really useful stuff, refer to content only available to paying customers.  What a great way to guarantee that neither I nor anyone I know will ever become your paying customer!
  5. Ones that have a "Shock and Awe" title followed by "Aw Shucks" content because apparently the entire marketing budget was spent on the title.
  6. Ones that promise me the latest BUZZ but deliver only ZZZ are not worthless only when I have insomnia.
  7. Ones that claim to be about data quality, but have nothing at all to do with data quality:  "...don't make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
  8. Ones that take the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" too far by using a dizzying collage of logos, charts, graphs and other visual aids.  This is one reason we're happy that Pablo Picasso was a painter.  However, he did once write that "art is a lie that makes us realize the truth."  Maybe he was defending whitepapers.
  9. Ones that use acronyms without ever defining what they stand for remind me of that scene from Good Morning, Vietnam: "Excuse me, sir.  Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on the QT?  Because if it leaks to the VC he could end up MIA, and then we'd all be put out in KP."
  10. Ones that really know they're worthless but aren't honest about it.  Don't promise me "The Top 10 Metrics for Data Quality Scorecards" and give me a list as pointless as this one.


I am officially calling out all writers of Data Quality Whitepapers. 

Shakespeare and I both believe that you can't write anything about data quality that is worth reading. 

Send your data quality whitepapers to Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality and if it is not worthless, then I will let the world know that you proved Shakespeare and I wrong.


And while I am on a rant roll, I am officially calling out all Data Quality Bloggers.

The International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ) is celebrating its five year anniversary by hosting:

El Festival del IDQ Bloggers – A Blog Carnival for Information/Data Quality Bloggers

For more information about the blog carnival, please follow this link:  IAIDQ Blog Carnival