This is going to be a bit shorter of a blog than usual, as only a few significant things have happened in the past week. I have been able to locate, curate, and analyze a lot more sources, and I am feeling pretty jazzed about that. My white whale, however, continues to elude me. Moby Relevant-Longitudinal-Study is still splashing out there somewhere, and I am determined to find and harpoon him. With my word harpoons. And my computer cursor. It’ll be epic, I swear. Blood and greasy metadata smeared all over everything.
Zotero: Cognitive Balm for a Raw and Cluttered Mind
Prof. Levine showed us Zotero last week, and I have to say: it’s a frickin’ game changer! I have been saving links, notes, and quotations in random word documents, then shoving them into random folders this whole time. Being able to organize my sources and annotate them with a click is amazing. I’m terrible at organizing things, even my own thoughts, so I am super thrilled to have Zotero doing all that work for me. I’m really enjoying using it, and I wish I had known about it years ago.
Applying the concept advocated by Dr. Zamora, and following the advice of my more scientifically-minded step-sister, I have branched out in my search for sources. I’m now scouring databases for other disciplines and areas of study, typing in keywords relevant to my thesis, and seeing what comes back. In doing this, I’ve actually found a lot of really useful information in unexpected places, as well as models for methodologies and structures. I never imagined an article about mental health treatment in Buenos Aires, Argentina could be so relevant to my research. Something else that has been pretty cool is seeing researchers in other fields name-dropping Howard Rheingold and Henry Jenkins. It’s like, “Oh, I know those guys!” It makes me feel part of a broader scholarly community, and it reinforces the fact that I’m learning things from all this research.
I’m really looking forward to the video chat with Henry Jenkins today during class. But I’m also crazy nervous. I’m starting to get a cold, so I’m feeling a bit out of it, and I’m just so terrified of seeming stupid. I’m willing to bet everything will go just fine, but it’s such a big deal to speak to THE participatory culture guy. It’s very intimidating, and it’s just one more reminder of the reality of my thesis.