I track a lot of information about the books I read, partly for the fun of making overly-complicated graphs about it later. 2019 was my fourth year of extra-thorough reading reviews, and the second year in a row where my reading was no longer dominated by texts assigned for graduate school. In 2018 I followed a themed ‘reading challenge’ to push myself to still read widely, but 2019 I went truly solo: so what did I read? (And what do I actually recommend you read?)
Continue reading “My 2019 Reading Review”
For 2018, I collected data on a few new aspects of my reading. I’ll look at those first, and then dig in to the comparisons to 2017 and 2016. The full list of everything I read is, as always, on Goodreads.
Continue reading “My 2018 Reading Review”
I track all of the books I read over at Goodreads, which gives me some great base data to examine my reading each year. They make a fun “year in books” page to kick things off with:
Continue reading “My 2017 Reading Review”
I’ve recently wrapped up teaching my first-ever class as a sole instructor, a summer session of The Digital Text. I’ll be reflecting on some parts of that process over at HASTAC, beginning with troubleshooting an essay prompt that almost worked.
(Archived version of that link here, captured Dec 29, 2018, to prevent linkrot.)
I had the honour of interviewing Professor Hélène Palma for “Cosmopolitanism in the Archive,” a blog connecting papers for the CSECS & NEASECS 2017 conference with holdings in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Professor Palma provides a fascinating introduction to Lady Hester Stanhope, an eccentric female traveler who settled in the Middle East. Veronica Litt, who organized the blog, adds a description and photographs of Robert Wood’s The Ruins of Palmyra, otherwise known as Tedmore in the Desart (1753; call number: FO-1 00302), one of my favourite holdings at the Fisher. Please take a look!
I love indexes. They’re like spreadsheets in disguise, (and as previously established, I love spreadsheets). So when I was reading Henry Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling (1771) for my special fields exam, and I noticed that the Victorian edition digitized for Project Gutenberg included an “index to tears” for the novel… well, I got a little carried away.
Continue reading “Vintage “small data”: playing with an Index to Tears”
When friends ask me how to get started in “digital humanities” research, I usually suggest making a spreadsheet. Frankly, when my friends ask me how to think through any kind of problem, I usually recommend making a spreadsheet. This is because “spreadsheeting” is a particular way of thinking.
Continue reading “Spreadsheet tools as interpretive middleware”
I joined in on a collaborative book review with other HASTAC Scholars, reviewing the online book Structuring Equality: Handbook for Student-Centered Learning, ed. Hilarie Ashton. My review covers Chapter 4.
(Archived version of my review here, captured Dec 29, 2018, to prevent linkrot.)
In my ongoing quest to make as many spreadsheets and graphs as possible, I pulled my reading history from Goodreads for 2016. Last year saw me through my last semester of coursework, and the entirety of my comprehensive exams, both of which I expected to have a pretty substantial influence on my reading habits. I’ll be curious to compare the stats to other years some time, but for now, let’s dig in to the 60 books I read last year!
Continue reading “My 2016 Reading Review”
The Old Books New Science lab had a field trip to the Gothic Boxwood Miniatures exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario today, and I came away impressed and inspired by their example of “digital humanities” research that really delivers on the promise of new insights. I often talk with “DH” people — and even more often with researchers skeptical of “DH” — about the difficulty of producing something which is relevant in and of itself. All research is fundamentally exploratory, an attempt to discover something not yet known, but the risk seems particularly easy to imagine with computational or technological approaches, that one might invest enormous effort to discover nothing except that the effort required was enormous. The AGO exhibit, I think, reveals a way to use exciting new tools without getting stuck just researching the tools themselves.
Continue reading “The importance of asking good questions; or, Reflections on “Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures” at the Art Gallery of Ontario”