Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mildly productive

Dinosaurs love homemade beer

My dreaded meeting with Dr. Asiago actually went great--he handed me my prospectus draft and said things looked great, except for the footnotes.  Which, being as my citations and notes are all crazzy, were not complete or very pretty.  So those will get cleaned up, a bibliography attached, and the thing will finally be done.  So the rest of the meeting was spent listening to Dr. Asiago rant about the many problems of the department.  Dr. Asiago, per his usual, complained at about the current first year grad students, the incoming students, the undergrads, other faculty, meetings, book reviews, cable TV about ghost hunting, and other faculty.
Which is not to say that there aren't many problems with the department; I just hope the departmental politics he's mad about won't shut me out of funding or something, since he's butting heads with people who control that kind of thing.  All the more reason to get done with the PhD as soon as possible.

I'm wondering also if I'm going to be Dr. Asiago's only advisee for a very long time.  I'm his first grad student, and it doesn't sound like he's going to take another student for the foreseeable future.  Partly, at least from his end, because of said departmental politics.  I don't know what that means for my networking or having a reputation when I go on the job market.  My other committee members have between a few and lots of students, so I'm not totally high and dry, but it just seems like an odd situation.

Blog Pictures 099
My office cleaning reward
The rest of the day was spent gleefully not writing a thing.  J and I went shopping at the used book store, a junk/antique shop, and a fabrics thrift store.  I found some beautiful vintage lace; not sure where the beaded one is going to end up, but there's four yards of it and it's so pretty.  Our beer is bottled and carbonating; we opened a bottle today just to check, and it's getting along pretty well.  There's not much carbonation yet or much head, but the flavor is maturing from what it was in the carboy.  The carbonation should build over the next month, but the lack of head is from a lack of protein and won't change.

I've been fussing over my digital and real life organizational systems since that archives notes workshop, and not getting very far.  I did, however, clean my office back to a useable state, which makes tackling my hard paper files easier to think about. I bought my first two drawer filing cabinet this summer, and I hate to even write this, but I think I need to buy another one.  Maybe a bigger one.  Everything goes in there, and even though it's all filed neatly, it's just about bursting because I've stuffed too much paper in it.

No progress on the digital refiling project.  I've fooled around with Zotero and can't get it to import citations from my library website, which makes it useless for me.  I might go back to RefWorks, or just despair at the thought of putting together a comprehensive bibliography.  One of the ideas presented at the notes workshop was to just keep one central word or spreadsheet file with citations and brief descriptions, and a note about where to find the file the document photo or PDF is in.

I'm playing with the idea of making an html document with local links to my research photos, so that I can search my citations and link to photos directly.  This appeals to me because it would be searchable and could show the photo or PDF with a single click, instead of hunting through files, but changing anything or even throwing it on an external drive would break all the links.  It also has the downside of all the citations would have to be entered by hand.  I have to think about it a little more.  Cleaning the physical office is a lot easier than trying to get my digital house in order.


  1. have you considered something like Yep or Leap for organizing your photos? i'm too tired to go figure out what kind of text you can add to the files, but they are great for organizing pdfs (Yep -- which might do photo files too) or for organizing everything (Leap) with searchable tags. i use one or both of those to rename the gazillions of pdf articles i download through library subscriptions that are given names like 2983902309 or out.

    also, i haven't had issues with zotero and the library site -- might it be a browser issue? or an old version?

    another thought -- do you read http://cliotropic.org/blog/ (it will look familiar.) there are some strategies for sorting photos from archives (and maybe links to other people with different systems?)

    okay, bedtime.

  2. Thanks for all the good ideas! I haven't even heard of Yep or Leap until now--I'll check those out and see if those can help. I don't know what the deal with zotero is for me--I've tried it on multiple browsers and can't get it to work, and I think I have the most recent version. I've started putting everything in Refworks, and Refworks exports nicely to Zotero. I like the Zotero interface a lot more than Refworks, so I may go to using Zotero for primary and Refworks for secondary. Or something.

  3. come to the Zotero forum (forums.zotero.org) for specific help with a library sites - most libraries do work and if you like Zotero otherwise this really shouldn't keep you. People there are nice and mostly fellow academics.

  4. Thanks Latinamericanist, I've found the forums helpful for figuring out how to enter odd source types, but I hadn't thought to try figuring out my library site issue. I'll head back over there, because Zotero has ended up working much better for me than most other things so far.