I want to learn how to code. This is a post about how I’m going to try and do that.
(This is also the kind of blog post that won’t stand the test of time. I know I’ll be struck by my own ignorance in a matter of weeks, but you have to start somewhere!)
Why Learn How to Code?
I’m in the middle of the dreaded ‘write up’ phase. No, I didn’t leave all the writing to the end, but it’s still a massive undertaking to whip everything into shape. It’s one thing to have developed ideas with examples and citations on the page, it’s another to hone the expression so that the reader can understand them and be guided through the dissertation.
Published in 1984, Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book is about two societies, the Yooks and the Zooks, who disagree on which side their toast should be buttered. An arms race ensues.
This is a classic cold war analogy that was turned into a cartoon in 1989. It’s available to watch on Youtube, and here’s the IMDB entry.
Embedded below is a presentation I gave to new research students in the history department at St Andrews.
While introducing some tools that I find useful in my own academic workflow, I hoped to make the general point that using different applications to break up the messy, complex beast that is the research project makes it more manageable.
It is technically feasible to write an entire PhD project using only Word, but no sane person would do this. By thinking about the disparate tasks that make up research and writing and considering what tool works best for each function, it becomes easier to envision just how you might go about writing a lengthy dissertation.
A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world
- John le Carré
…try telling that to the dissertation.
At the start of this summer I spent some time thinking about how I would structure my day in order to get more writing done. I wanted to find a daily schedule that I could follow consistently, without the risk of burnout.
This post will outline some of the things I’ve learned about how to spend time writing productively each and every day.
Embedded below is a presentation I gave at the University of St Andrews earlier today on creating a digital ecosystem for academic research.
Having already discussed many disparate software options for research and writing in previous ‘digital history’ presentations, this workshop was designed to demonstrate how these different products can fit together and work as a whole within an academic workflow.
Below is a Storify of my tweets at the Research Futures 2013 Conference held at the University of St Andrews on June 4.
Further details of the conference and a copy of the programme can be found at the conference website here.
Additional links mentioned in the summary-
Beltane Public Engagement Network: http://www.beltanenetwork.org/
National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement: http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/
Bright Club (Stand-up Comedy for Researchers): http://www.brightclub.org/
The Scottish History Festival: historyfest.co.uk
On 28 May 1987 a German teenager landed this plane in the very centre of Moscow:
As it’s International Museum Day, let me tell you a story about a museum and a younger me:
Cast yourself back to 2008. The Great Recession had hit and Lehman Brothers investment bank had just collapsed. I was occupied on some of the financial fall-out of this, working in my first job as a corporate financier in London Town. My presence in the office from 6am to 11pm during this time – and additional issues – had me thinking this might not be the career for me.