The process of exploring a data file handed to you without any form of guidance except for a nebulous statement about what you are supposed to do with it - no record layout, no data map, no indication of which columns are relevant to the task at hand. The completeness of the task specification follows the inverse specificity law - the more complex the data and the important the task the less information you are given.
Theary: Hey Bernie. could you extract the customers' discount rates from this file? It's XML so you should just be able to read it off.
Bernie: Sure thing, it it will take some serious data orienteering.
Theary: Okay, I'll let the client know.
by Terrible Tadpole June 03, 2010

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