Organizing the World’s Sabermetric Research, Part 3 – Plugging into SABR

It’s been just about a month since SABR 44. As I teased in my very verbose recap, a few things came out of the committee meetings that relate to this possibly quixotic quest I have to catalog all the world’s sabermetric reasearch.

The first thing to note is that SABR already has an effort to catalog all baseball writing: The Baseball Index. Clicking through that link will show a functional, but dated and incomplete, reference of baseball documents, recordings, and other materials that any baseball researcher could want to know of. It does include many sabermetric works already, but finding these works isn’t all that easy. This is mostly because of an fickle search function that doesn’t work quite as well as a modern internet user would like, but also because the tags on the articles are designed around indexing all baseball research, not just sabermetrics. Most sabermetric entries are listed with the tag of “statistical analysis” and nothing deeper, unlike the articles on Saber Archive. Another thing of note is its current state of incompleteness, which is due to a broken data entry system. I will note here that the committee did mention someone is working on an upgrade to this system at SABR 44 (hint: he runs a very popular website).

Secondly, the Statistical Analysis committee, in its 7 AM Friday morning meeting at SABR 44, brought up the idea of a group project to create a centralized reference list for sabermetric research. Many members of the committee had various ideas about what such a resource should look like: a list of the most recommended articles, a full literature review of one area of sabermetrics (e.g. defensive metrics), working with the Baseball Index Project committee, and a wiki were all suggested. Phil Birnbaum, who chairs the Stat Analysis committee, is currently collecting names of those interesting in helping with this committee project, even if you’re not a member of SABR.

How do these two things affect what I had in mind? The Baseball Index, when upgraded and if designed better than its current state, would contain a lot of the features I am working to include in my database. There are a few features I plan to have that are not in TBI, most notably a citation link between works and topical tags that are more like Saber Archive’s. Thus, my database and the Baseball Index should be able to co-exist. I’ll be using TBI as an additional source for locating sabermetric research works to be included. I’ll also be contributing to the Baseball Index, focusing on articles in academic journals, which appears to be a major gap in their listing at the present time.

The Statistical Analysis committee project is too new to really know how things will shake out. I’m already on board to help with this committee project, and there’s a non-zero chance I take a leadership role with it. However, there are just too many unknowns to really know how my work will fit in with what this project turns into. All I can do is keep on keeping on.

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