I'll admit I'm getting some great profiles, but my curiousity has gotten the better of me. How do I "evaluate" the raw data? How do I clean it up? Does averaging several readings as he does smooth the data sufficiently to warrant the additional effort? If anyone can point me the in direction of a book or website that offers some insight into this area, it would be much appreciated.
There are different tips for profiling different type of processes (inkjet with driver, inkjet with RIP, photo paper processes, laser, offset press, etc). Mention specifically what process you are working with and people can provide tips for that particular process.
If you really want to geek out and learn more about these details you might consider taking a class or get private training as there aren't any books or literature that go into these issues as closely as it sounds like you would like to go. There are so many little things to discuss that it's nearly impossible to be immersed in this process and write about all of it. There is only so much we can talk about without actually looking at prints that speak volumes. Perhaps I could quickly touch on a few things that you might find interesting:
1) As for evaluating a printer's state prior to profiling consider printing an evaluation image (without a profile) that has linear gray and color bars, skin tones, extreme highlight and shadow detail etc. For the profiling process to work well with a generic profiling target a device needs to be able to produce a black to white gradation with even density distribution and without a color cast. If you are working with a device that isn't particularly 'well behaved' like this then you may need to use MonacoProfiler's 2 step profiling method that generates custom profiling targets for a device's specific non-linear state.
2) If you haven't done so already, calibrating a process with an advanced RIP (like GMG ColorProof, EFI ColorProof, ColorBurst, etc) prior to profiling is very enlightening and will help you understand what must happen prior to profiling for the profiling process to work optimally. Most of these RIPs have 3-5 day certification classes that go into these issues with incredible detail.
3) ProfileMakerPro users often overlook the question "Is there another profiling application that would profile this process better than PMP?" Make sure you are using the best software you can before spending too much time massaging a process that may never provide the results you are looking for.