A brief think about Things 13 and 14

It’s amazing what a few days away from the real world can do to make you lose track!  After some bacchic worshipping at Greenman I return to find I am losing my grip on the 23 things and have some catching up to do.  But with a 17 page dense list of duplicate MFHDs to manually merge (don’t ask!), I haven’t quite got the time to really play around with Google docs, wikis, Dropbox, Zotero, Mendeley and CiteULike.  However, if I can at least write a few random thoughts on these subjects for now, I can pretend I am still keeping on top of things!

Thing 13 – Online collaborating and filesharing.  I have limited experience of this, but did use a wiki (PBWorks) last year when I was a member of a team organising the library side of the WHELF/HEWIT annual colloquium at Gregynog.  The higher education institutions in Wales take turns in organising it, and last year it was Cardiff University and UWIC who did the honours.  A wiki was set up to help us organise the programme and the entertainment (we had our own murder mystery!) and the sponsorship, and it did prove valuable in being able to sort things out between meetings.  I have to admit to not feeling too comfortable using it though, despite it being relatively easy to use, I kept feeling I was missing something and wasn’t using it properly.  We have a couple of in-house collaborating systems, and as I don’t use them that much, again, I feel like I am floundering around.  I guess most of these systems work best when you have a good reason to use them, and plenty of use out of them.

Thing 14 – Referencing systems.  Well, this made me laugh, I wrote a 100,000 word PhD and did all my references by hand!  I still have all my little card boxes; cards in alphabetical order by author.  And of course, well into the project I even started noting on the back where I had put the article/photocopy/ILL when I had the copy (ie which folder/boxfile etc), and if it was a library book, what the classmark was – which was all extremely useful, and something I really should have done from the start.  I still use some of these articles for other research, and am always really annoyed with myself when I haven’t written the location on the back!

So, would I have benefitted from one of these systems???  Well, I haven’t the time to check them out at the moment, but will do so at a later point and report back.  From my earlier comment, I think I would like to see the facility to note down where I was keeping my article/photocopy (as I did on the back of cards); although of course these days there would be a higher chance of the articles being online, so a link to full text would be handy too.  I guess the proof of the pudding would be in the eating, so next time I am writing an article, or doing some research, I should perhaps attempt to use one of these systems, and see how they compare.  But I do like my little cards…




Filed under CPD, Librarianship, Research

3 responses to “A brief think about Things 13 and 14

  1. ilk21

    congratulations on a gargantuan effort with referencing your PhD! I reckon with these systems if you have skills in place at the start of a piece of work, you can really benefit but building them in retrospectively is really hard – taking time out to learn a new system can be really difficult. Main thing is to have a system that works for you.

  2. You were lucky – the reason my husband did not get his PhD was the loss of all his reference cards in a flood! I work better with cards too, but that is a salutary cautionary tale … of course, you could always do them twice and keep the second set somewhere else, as I think some conscientious libraries used to do with their card catalogues, but that’s a lot of extra work

    • Oh no, that is terrible! I did have a loss of PhD work early on in my research when the computer I was using flipped out for no reason (technical term!) and decided that it would only take the old style large floppy discs (5 1/4 in.) – not that it had a slot for them or had ever taken them! It got sent away to be mended, but they couldn’t fix it, and I couldn’t get the information off it that I hadn’t previously saved to disc – that was a harsh lesson in ensuring everything was backed up! But luckily occurred early enough not to have caused too many problems.
      Don’t think I could bear to write out all my cards twice though!

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