Google Refine is a powerful tool for dealing with messy data. It seems to have more power than a spreadsheet and lots of potential. Have a look at the videos on the Google Refine site to get a feel.
Unlike a lot of Google tools this one is downloaded to your machine and works with the data there, so there is no worries about loading data into the cloud and worrying about who can access. The capacity of your machine will dictate how much data you can manipulate.
I’ve only done a little experimenting and can see plenty of projects I could run with this, but there does look to be a steep learning curve and I can’t find much in the way of tutorials.
So if there are others who are interested in exploring we probably need to set up a self-teach group.