Impostor Writer

For the past 2 years, I have been playing around with how I want to blog and my view of myself as a writer.  There was the failed failure blog.  The failure in that was that I lost interest in writing about the topic.  I am having much more fun with the Book Club of 1 blog.  There I write about my experiences as a reader in the context of my sense of self.  All entries are really just about me.  But then, isn’t the entire blogging experience a narcissistic one?  This blog remains a professionally personal space.  It’s attached to my professional portfolio so I am far more careful in what I say here than I am on other blog spaces.

On the failure blog I focused a bit on impostor syndrome.  While it seems to effect everyone, it is primarily focused on women.  The simple idea that you are an impostor and will be caught some day, but for now you are faking it until you make it… yes, we all have those moments.  For me, it seems to be connected to my writing.  I have never really suffered from a lack of confidence until these past few months when I decided it was time to share my writing beyond my little circle.  In making decision about how to publish a novel, I have had to face my own sense of being an impostor.

It is not all prevailing.  I know I am a good writer.  I enjoy writing and I see everything I write as making me better at something I am good at.  Where it hits is when I consider what I should do to share my novel.  It can be seen when I hesitate to let someone outside my inner circle read what I wrote.  It can be seen when I brush off compliments from friends and family because they love me and want to encourage me.  It can be seen when I try to be realistic about my expectations for my novel.  I actually told my ‘alpha reader’ (the first person to read for edits) that I simply want to make back what I spend to self-publish this book.

The thing is, I want to earn rewards for writing.  I want to start modestly and build fans.  I want people to share the book and leave reviews.  I want my skill as a writer to be complimented by strangers.  That is what my impostor syndrome wants to feel legitimate.  I am willing to back it up with money.  I will pay for a good cover design.  I will give away free copies.  I will go to events and sell the book.  I have sale goals: 100 copies.  Not 100 in a year, a decade, etc.  I just want to sell 100 copies before I die.  Why?  Because I was told only 10% of independently published authors ever sell more than 100 copies.  I like a good metric.

My impostor, in this case, is probably taking my confidence and forcing it to be realistic.  Think of all the independently published novels and small independent publishers.  This is a over burdened marketplace.  I have seen the inner workings of the industry.  I know, statistically, the chances of me getting to a major publisher and actually accepted are SO VERY SLIM. That only 10% of independent authors sell more than 100 copies is a sign at how over loaded the industry is and how hard it is to get to readers.  My dream is to build momentum and to get the attention of a publisher eventually.

What can you expect?  Well, I have been promising this for years, haven’t I.  The current and ever changing plan is to have something ready to be published by June 1st.  Something you can buy and share.  This will probably be the first of many self-published books.  I hope to have the second ready in December.  Here is what I need now:

  • 5 readers who will look for typos.  You will be given a free, very unfinished copy of the book when I am ready for you to read.  As a thank you, I will give you a completed, hardback edition with an inscription.
  • Graphic designer for the cover art.  I am willing to pay you money for this, but I am on a budget.  I do have 2 ideas to play with, but am not feeling so committed to them that I won’t hear another idea.  You too will get a free, very unfinished copy to help you in any way with the design.
  • Font suggestions!  There are some tips for picking fonts for novels (serif fonts being considered better- the ones with the little lines attached to the end of letters).  The story is a modern version of Austen’s Persuasion and I really want to play with the cover title and inside font being reminiscent of the original.  If you like fonts, let me know if you have a suggestion.  You may be overruled by a graphic designer on cover fonts.
  • Ideas for promotion.  I have gotten a ton of advice from local writers and publishers, but if you have an idea I am willing to consider it.  I am not going crazy, though.  Publicity can become a full-time job in itself.

I will have more things I need as we get closer to June.

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NaNoWriMo 2015 – I am still an ML

NaNoWriMo ML 2015

NaNoWriMo ML 2015

It is the end of October, which means I am gearing up for another year of NaNoWriMo.

Yes, this is year 12 of NaNoWriMo for me and my 11th as a municipal liaison (a local coordinator of writing events).  This has been an interesting year for me.  This is the year I stopped writing anything related to my epic (you will never read it) novel series.  For the first time, I will spend November writing original ideas.  I have been inspired by authors, but I am not borrowing characters or universes to make my own.

I wasn’t going to be an ML again this year.  Last year I prepared my co-ML for my departure.  We met last December and I handed her the keys to the castle: stickers, prizes, organizing items, etc.  I prepared a replacement who was excited to run events in Lowell.  Then I got many emails from people saying nobody was listed as our current ML.  I started trying to find out what happened.  One person just dropped off the planet and the other missed deadlines.  We needed someone to be in the official spot to keep communication open.  So, I agreed to re-claim my spot for the year to help the new ML.

My writing has been going well.  The NaNo Lowell writing group published our first magazine this month.  I have a short story included in the collection.  This officially makes me a published author.  Check that off the list of goals.  The story I contributed was something I wrote while at college.

I have been working on the pieces I have written for past NaNoWriMo events.  My first is my novel Modern Persuasion that is a modern version of Austen’s Persuasion.  I have a friend reading it as an editor at the moment.  My plan is to make a few chapters available for free here on the blog and then self-publishing it.  This won’t happen until 2016.  I am working on edits for PAP (my modern version of Pride & Prejudice) and that may be ready for the same process next summer.  Even the mystery novel I wrote last NaNoWriMo is getting ready for edits.  I think that one needs the most work, but my plan is to publish it as well.  As of now, I am just going to self publish.  I don’t expect to ever make money from my writing.  I write because I love it and now am ready to share.

This year I am writing another mystery novel, this time set in an academic library.  I am very excited about it and even have a back-up idea if I struggle to with writers block. I think it will be a very productive November.

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100 Days of Wikipedia

I just came back from Washington DC where I attended the 2015 WikiConUSA conference.  You may recall that I went last year (it was in NYC) and spoke at the conference.  This time I attended as a participant.  I didn’t have anything new to present and I really wanted to hear from others while making some great new connections.  Mission accomplished.

One of the things I learned about is a project 100 Wiki Days.  The purpose is for participants to spend 100 days creating new entries in Wikipedia.  Part of me wants to do that and then part of me laughs at that other part of me.  I don’t have a desire to create 100 different entries.  I do have a desire to edit 100 Wikipedia entries.  So, I am tweaking this challenge to suit me.  Why?  Because I can and I like challenges, especially when they are meaningless and have no reward.

Here is what is going to happen.

  • Starting on December 1, 2015 I will edit 1 Wikipedia article a day for 100 days.
  • Each day will be a different entry.  In the 100 days I will not edit the same entry twice.
  • I may create entries if the need/desire arises.
  • None of those pages will be my profile page (I will edit that, but it won’t count).
  • Once a week I will post a re-cap of the week here.  I will list the entries and what I did to edit them.
  • Based on the way Wikipedia counts changes, each change must be 250 bites added.  If I remove, I need to re-add that many as well.
  • Changes can be citations, copy edits, re-organization, adding library links, adding content, etc.  Just as long as I get in 250 bites.

I think that is it.  I am going to add this to my Wikipedia profile.  Feel free to post comments!

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Honor Flight

Norman, Lloyd, and me

Norman, Lloyd, and me at the WW2 Memorial.

Of my four grandparents, three are Veterans.  My mother’s parents are both World War 2 Veterans.  My grandmother was in the Navy and my grandfather was in the Army.  My father’s father is a Korean War Veteran.  Of the three of them, my maternal grandfather has been the most open with his military experience.  He has been involved, over the years, with various Veteran groups.  He volunteers at the VA Hospital to this day.  He use to take trips for reunions.  In fact, my grandmother joined him until she was too frail to continue.

Norman at WW2 Memorial

Norman at WW2 Memorial- The Massachusetts pillar

I spend a lot of time with Norman.  In the years since I moved to Boston, it has been very important to me that I get to spend time with both my grandparents.  Both are in their mid-90s.  I don’t know how much time I have left. When Norman asked me to join him on a program called Honor Flight I said yes before I even knew what I agreed to do.

Honor Flight is an organization that takes Veterans to DC and gives them a chance to see the various monuments and memorials to our nations military branches and the wars they have fought.  The New England hub right now only takes World War 2 Veterans.  The trip is free for the Veterans.  Guardians have to pay to go with them.  A few hubs, New England among them, actually allow family members to go.  Many have stopped doing it.  They have found a few bad, entitled apples have made it more work than it is worth for them.

Norman and Me

Norman and me before we leave for the airport.

As Norman’s guardian I was completely responsible for him.  I made sure he had everything he needed.  I helped him get around.  When he was tired, I pushed his wheel chair.  Trust me, that wheel chair work out is probably the best workout I have had in a while.  I wheeled him up hill in 85 degree heat and about 95% humidity.  I got my heart rate up pretty high.  The trip is all about the Veterans, but sometimes family members forget that.  They want to wander off for pictures.  They want to make sure they see as much as they can.  Plus, these are men and women who are often use to just doing what they want.  If they can walk, like Norman, they want to just go.  I often had to jog to catch up with him during the day.

It is worth it if you don’t take advantage of the opportunity.  Our trip was the weekend before Memorial Day.  We had been to a training a few weeks before.  It was more for me to be ready for the day, but he went to meet some of the other Veterans.   They prepared us for helping the Veterans, but little for the itinerary of the day.  We knew the basics: leaving very early, they take care of everything, returning late at night.

The Washington Monument as seen from the WW2 memorial

The Washington Monument as seen from the WW2 memorial

We had to be at Logan Airport by 5am.  Those who came from farther than us must have been completely exhausted by the end of the day.  Norman and I barely slept from excitement ourselves.  We were on a charter flight by 8am.  From where we met at Logan to the gate, there was more fanfare than we expected.  We had an police escort to the terminal.  As we walked to the gate we were greeted by police, other Veteran organization, ROTC units, and curious people just at the airport for their own flights.  People stayed at the gate with us.  Younger ROTC members talked to the Veterans about their war experiences.  People walking to their stopped to find out what we were doing.

The flight out was quiet.  We all knew the day would be long so we wanted to rest while we could.  It was not a long flight.  We landed in Baltimore to a water cannon salute on the runway and more people waiting to greet us.  We were assigned to one of our three buses.  We spent the entire trip on the same bus.  We made our way to the World War 2 Memorial and watched a video about it as we drove from Baltimore to D.C..

A picture left at the WW2 memorial

A picture left at the WW2 memorial

Norman had been to the memorial a few years before, but I had never been before.  It is a large memorial split into two halves: Atlantic and Pacific theaters.  Each state has a pilar, each battle location in that theater is put around a fountain.  You would see people leaving pictures at various places around the memorial.  We walked around with Norman’s friend Lloyd and his son.  We took pictures.  You could see the Washington and Lincoln memorials from where we stood.  A university graduation had ended just as we arrived to we walked around with the graduates and their families.  There were two other Honor Flight groups there as well.  It was crowded and exciting.  We spent quite a while there before getting back on the bus.

The Navy Memorial

The Navy Memorial

The itinerary of the day was never clear.  We didn’t know where we were going until we got there.  We had a very general idea of what we could get to see, but we were warned that we may have to do some drive-bys if time didn’t permit the time to walk around.  Our next stop, after a drive through the city, was the Navy Memorial.  This was right across the street from the National Archive.  Norman stayed in the bus, but I got out to take pictures.  I loved the simple way they used the color of the concrete to design the map.  It almost looked like a rain storm had simply wet the ground in the shape of a map.

Arlington Cemetery Changing of the Guard

Arlington Cemetery Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We did know we would make it to Arlington Cemetery to see the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.  This was a very touching part of the trip.  The guards don’t speak other than to explain the ceremony we are watching.  The guards scraped the side of their shoes as they walked by.  While it would simply appear as a falter, it was really a gesture of thanks to the men who served their country.  It was one of the few times I found my eyes tearing up.  I expected it to happen more often than it did.

The Lincoln Monument

The Lincoln Monument

We got to stop at the Lincoln Memorial.  We only had 30 minutes to decide which of the three memorials we wanted to see at that stop: Lincoln, Vietnam, or Korean.  Norman and I made the decision to see the Korean War Memorial.  Our logic was that we had both seen the Vietnam Memorial and Lincoln Monument in the past.  Neither of us had seen the Korean War Memorial.  I am glad we did.

The Korean War Memorial is a very moving memorial.  Like the Vietnam Memorial it includes an expanse of grey granite. Instead of names engraved on it, it features faces of people.  They look like shadows and reflections on the granite.  It is very haunting.  The statues next to it are suppose to be actual men who served.

The Korean War Memorial

The Korean War Memorial

I am very happy we picked this one out of the three.  You can see from my picture how the reflection of the people at the memorial and the people embossed on the granite merge with each other.  There were flowers and wreaths left at various places around the memorial.  There were school groups and families around as well.  So many people came up and thanked Norman for his service.  He even commented how tired his hand would be by the end of the day.

The Korean War Memorial

The Korean War Memorial

What I learned about Norman on this trip was fascinating.  I learned more about his service than ever before.  I knew he had been in Northern Africa and Italy, but I learned that he had also been stationed in Northern Ireland for a while.  I knew he had driven an ambulance, but it really hit how much death he would have seen because of this.  He approaches his service with humor.  He didn’t see combat, but he still doesn’t talk about what he did see.  I realized how much he and I are alike.  We are both sarcastic and use humor to deflect.  I didn’t want to push him to talk more than he wanted to knowing how I react in similar situation.

The Air Force Memorial

The Air Force Memorial

The last memorial we got to see was the Air Force Memorial.  This one is in Arlington, just outside the cemetery.  You see the spires as you drive around the city.  This was another beautiful memorial.  When you stand at the edge of the spires you can see the Pentagon, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, and the Lincoln Monument in the distance.  The memorial was quieter than any other.  We were the only ones there for quite a while.  By this time the sky had cleared and we were tired.  Norman stayed in the bus again, but I walked around.  I love the pictures I got here, especially they one on the left.  The statues of the color guard stand to the right of the spires.  Like at the WW2 Memorial, you could see pictures left by other visitors.

Pictures left at the Air Force Memorial

Pictures left at the Air Force Memorial

They took us to dinner after this.  We had lunch on the bus, but we went to a hotel in Baltimore for dinner.  It was a chance for us to relax a bit before the flight home.  We sat with Lloyd again and with people we had not met on other buses.  We heard about what they had taken away from the day.  On the drive to the hotel they had done a mail call.  I had contacted the family to write letters to Norman.  While not everyone in the family wrote something, there were a few unexpected ones from people he didn’t expect.

The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building

The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building

The whole thing doesn’t end until we got back to the Logan police station.  Even as we landed and walked to the shuttles at Logan, people greeted us.  It was 11pm on a Sunday night, but Boy Scouts waited to greet us.  It was a nice way to end a day.  I passed out as soon as we went to bed.

They were very good to us on the trip.  They gave us certificates, played games, and even entertained us as we waited for our flight home.  I had time to get a few souvenirs.  I am so glad I was the one who got to go with Norman on this trip.  I would love to go again (even though I would have to pay for it) as a volunteer.  I would help a Veteran who didn’t have family to go with him or her.  It may not be possible for a while, but someday I am sure I will.  Until then, I am working on making a photo book for Norman with my pictures.  I have so many that I took to make sure I could.

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Hot Pattern Coming Through!

Ravelry Hot Patterns

Day three on the Hot Pattern List

You may recall that last year I designed a blanket for a friend who had a baby- the Gradient Blanket.  It was my first blanket pattern and my third pattern ever.  At the time it had been years since I had designed anything.  I put it up on Ravelry (a social network for knitters, crocheters, and spinners).  Ravelry has hundreds of patterns so, I was excited to see, after a few weeks, people had made the pattern and posted pictures.  It was my best response yet and it was respectable, but not overwhelming.

That was almost a year ago.  I have been designing patterns since, but nothing is ready for publishing.  I am beginning to put value on the designs I create.

You can imagine my surprise when, doing some updates to the blog last month, I saw a HUGE spike in my statistics.  Usually I get about 10 hits to the blog when I publish a post, which is obviously not regularly.  Suddenly I had almost 800 hits in one day.  That was a Sunday.   By Monday I had almost 1,500 views.  The vast majority, if not all of them, came from Ravelry.  As I explored what changed, I found myself on a list of hot patterns, a list very visible for Ravelry users.

I have yet to find the origin of the spike, but I am thrilled with it.  Knowing my pattern is getting out there and that people like it really makes me happy.  It prompted me to make some adjustments to the patterns I have up.  Over the course of the week not only were there hits here, but the pattern was downloaded 500 times once I put it in a Ravelry store.  Things have quieted down since then, but the pattern is still being downloaded.

As a budding designer, it was very encouraging.  My knitting friends gave me feedback on why this happened.  The pattern is simple and I did a good job writing the pattern so that people can understand what to do.  I made edits to encourage personalization.  This has created a bit of a jump start on my designing.  I am feeling more confident about designs I have been working on as well.  I am even learning more about running a store.

It is interesting what can happen so suddenly and how it can push forward ideas that are sitting the back of a brain.  When I think of how vague I have felt about plans for the years, I am realizing that there are parts of ideas in my head, but they are things I am not ready to move forward.  With the first half of the year almost passed, it is weird for me to not have concrete goals.  I am simply moving forward on momentum from things I have already started: tenure, publication, and traveling for example.  To have this happen allows me the chance to taking a vague dream and move forward with it.  I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

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My 2014 In Review and Hopes for 2015

Tonight is the last night of 2014.  For me it has been a crazy and exciting year.  So little of it was shared here though.

January: I spent the first few weeks of the new year in the UK visiting Leslie in Oxford and then seeing Cardiff and London for the first time.  It was the first of many trips I took in 2014.  Even after a late start thanks to a massive blizzard, I got there and saw everything I had wanted to see, eat all the things I wanted to eat, and started re-thinking retirement plans.

February: This was probably the quietest month of the year, but only because I knew so much was coming up.  I did attend my grandfather’s 94 birthday celebration at his synagogue and my mother came into town.  While the Olympics went on on Russia, I participated in the Ravellenic Games (on the knitting social network website Ravelry) for the first time and completed the project I picked for myself.

March: I got to visit Emily and Adam in Louisiana.  Even though the trip was intended to simply spend time with my friends, Emily and I explored the local area together.  This was also about the time I applied for my sabbatical and made decisions about how I would spend my time.

April: Not only did I participate in Camp NaNoWriMo and finish, but I wrote the first fictional content that wasn’t part of my epic, never to be read by anyone else, universe.  I went to Miami to see friends, including a party to celebrate the almost-retirement of my friend Etta.

May: Not only was this month Book Expo, but I presented at WikiCon USA.  This was my first time presenting my Wikipedia research outside my small academic circle and to people who knew Wikipedia better than I did.  I also got news about my sabbatical plans and learned I was being given a reduced workload for a year to work on my projects.

June: I started my sabbatical and went to Portland, OR for AdaCamp.  For my sabbatical I finished work on a collaborative article that had been in development for years.  I created my first blanket pattern that I made available for free.

July: With summer in full swing I mostly spent my free time visiting people and trying to get a sun tan for Katie’s wedding.  I spent 2 days on Cape Cod with Pat and Vic.  I realized it was a great plan to spend a week on the beach with them the next summer.   I also wrote another novel for Camp NaNoWriMo and for the first time worked on an idea that only came to me a few weeks before.

August: My mother came into town and we went back to the Cape to spend a day with family.  I jumped into planning the Wikipedia edit-a-thons with my friend Win from the local public library.

September: Fall kicked off with a new school year, my 38th birthday and my sister’s wedding in northern California.  I attended THATCamp at Harvard to learn more about digital humanities projects and related topics.  I spent a weekend in the Hamptons with Debbie.

October: While it seemed pretty quiet, most of the month was spent preparing for November and December.  The summer’s article was submitted for peer review.  I started the planning for November’s NaNoWriMo and for the first Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in December.

November: I spent most of the month writing my 11 novel for NaNoWriMo.  When my mother was in town for another visit, I sprained my ankle forcing me to take it easier than I anticipated.  It did make it easier to write and knit.  Before that happened I did attend the New England Sheep and Wool festival for Pat’s birthday.

December: The year ended with the first Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the start of the month and then a quick trip to Miami for a visit.  My grandfather traveled with me to be at a party my mother planned to celebrate Katie and Bethany’s wedding with people who had been unable to attend.  I made Harry Potter themed stockings for Katie and Bethany’s first Christmas together.

By the end of this year I have knit 35 different projects, 20 squares for a blanket for myself, and designed 2 projects of my own.  I read 82 books over the year including a good number of audiobooks.  I wrote for all three NaNoWriMo events and won each one.

For next year I have just started thinking about the things I want to do.  I know I have to finally get an article published, apply for sabbatical, and start making some big picture plans for what I want.  There are still more Wikipedia edit-a-thons, my 2015 discussion series, and more.  For now, happy new year!

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Knitting Designs: Interlocking Key Chain

Interlocking Key Chain

Interlocking Key Chain

For years I have been trying to find a nice interlocking keychain so I can separate my house and car keys as needed.  Now, living in a home with a garage, I don’t usually need my house keys.  I decided to make my own by felting the yarn.  I put the pattern together now that I have finished the project and am making it available for free.

Download Pattern: Interlocking Key Chain

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Pushing Through

After all my work this summer, I am finally seeing some movement on my projects.  My first professional book review has officially been published.  Of course, it is behind a pay wall so you can only see a little.

This came just as I submitted my first article for peer review.  For those not aware of the peer review process, let me walk you through what has been going on and what will happen.

About 2 years ago I thought it would be a good idea to write an article with other academic librarians from around the country.  What we have in common is that we all have run cultural/public programs in academic libraries.  These types of programs happen often in public libraries, but academic libraries are just beginning to run them.  I have run a bunch.  Every spring when I run another discussion series, I am running a cultural program for the public.  The five of us also happened to have been awarded grants to run specific programs from the American Library Association (ALA).

It took us 2 years to make any progress for a variety of reasons.  First, we all get very busy between September and May.  Taking the time to coordinate is almost impossible.  Second, I had no idea what I was doing as the leader of the group.  When you are a kinesthetic learner, the best way to learn is by doing and messing up.  For a year we looked at the literature to see what research gaps needed to be filled.  For a year we ran a survey to get data from other librarians regarding our research questions.  This summer, thanks primarily to my workload reduction, I was able to push things forward.  We were able to review the research, write the article and submit it.  Synthesizing data is not always easy, but our findings were not surprising.  I believe our experiences were very similar to those who responded to our surveys.  By the end of August we had a finial draft and had picked a journal for submission.

Each journal has their own requirements for manuscripts.  Primarily it relates to formats and citations.  I have used the American Psychological Associations (APA) style for most of my academic career.  The journal we selected required the Chicago Manual of Style format.  Converting one style to another is not easy, especially when they are radically different.  It has been years since I used endnotes.  It took me about a month to finish the conversion to a point that made me feel like I had done it correctly.  There are also requirements for title pages, abstracts, how the authors are listed on the article, and where the tables exist.

Today I submitted the article to the journal.  I have to wait for the peer review committee to review it and send back their feedback.  I teach this process to students all the time.  This is how research happens.  When a huge medical development happens (cure for cancer for example), we are not hearing about the moment of cure.  What we are hearing about is the publication of the article about curing cancer.  Peer review makes information more reliable because other field experts are reading and reviewing.  They are making sure the conclusions are supported by the data among other things.  It takes a while.  In medicine articles can take almost a year to go through this process.

Now I have to wait.  I should get feedback on the article.  Getting feedback is a good thing in this process.  If there is no feedback then I could conclude many things about the journal and few of them would be good.  Yes, five people have already had their eyes on this article, but the more eyes, the better for publishing journal articles.

Don’t worry, I will post updates.  Getting this article published is one very big step forward in getting tenure and establishing a national reputation in libraries.

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Indian Summer Conference Series: THATCamp Harvard

While it is technically Fall, you wouldn’t know that from the 80+ temperatures outside last weekend.  I guess that officially makes this an Indian Summer.  Is that term really still used?

Anyway, I am sitting at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education Library learning more about the Digital Humanities and technology.  The Digital Humanities are those projects that seek to digitize archives, collect and distribute data about humanities fields, and teach students using technology.  I came because I am interested in many new things these days and to have a chance to talk to more people about Wikipedia.  Not just to talk about editing and conflicts, but also about projects and helping people become editors.

After the very positive experience with an unconference at AdaCamp this summer, I was excited to see the model used at another conference.  I even focused on what type of session I would propose.  On Saturday morning, as I rode the T 3 stops to Harvard Square, I knew on what direction to focus: Wikipedia (obviously) and connecting Digital Humanities projects to increase project visibility.  I hoped there would be other editors and maybe even other editors ready to share experiences with doing just that.  I wanted to make it a fluid session so that people could easily discuss Wikipedia, but also hopefully have time to play with it.

It was clear, even after the first session of lightning talks, the projects people were working on are amazing.  There was a mapping project of the trenches in World War 1 along the western front.  There were some amazing digital archives.  My favorite was a visualization of music along the color spectrum.  It brought to mind when the AdaCamp participants wished more people in the arts and humanities were meeting them.  Yes, I did a small push for AdaCamp.  The biggest topic, from the sessions I attended, was how to find the tech people and how much non-techies needed to know in order to really engage and explain their project to coders.

My proposal was accepted and we had a great discussion about using Wikipedia.  Most people were just ready to wade into editing for the first time.  It was really invigorating to help people take that first, difficult step.  Editing Wikipedia requires confidence and sometimes you just need to know a few rules to have that confidence.  I met a bunch of people I have been following on Twitter as well.

I walked away feeling like I learned about a lot of fascinating projects, new knowledge, and potential collaborators.  As I move forward in my career, I know this is a group to continue to work with and pay attention to.

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I sit here at the end of my birthday weekend.  The summer is officially over for the world, even it the weather doesn’t quite agree with us about that.  For the world, this summer has been terrible.  Personally, it was a very good summer.  Back in May I wrote an entry about my plans for the summer.  From conferences to writing, I had a small but complete plan in my head about what needed to happen.  How did I do?  Let’s find out.

First, I had plans to attend about 3 conferences.  Book Expo, as per usual, was a wonderful event.  I got some great books and even reigned in my gut reaction to hoard the entire collection I brought home.  Most of them have been given away and, of those I did keep, only 4 of the 7 are unread (which is pretty good for me given my To-Be-Read book shelf).  WikiCon was amazing and has really helped me move forward with both my research on Wikipedia and my desire to run Wikipedia programming on campus.  Even AdaCamp helped me move forward with my Wikipedia plans and helped me learn what is going on outside of my little library bubble.  As I create the list of conferences to attend next year my list is now at 7 different conferences locally, nationally, and internationally.  Cross your fingers: I may go to Mexico City next year if I can make the finances work!

Excessive knitting was on my list of plans for the summer.  Not only did I finish two shawls and three bow-ties for the wedding, but I failed at something.  It is interesting to find your limit with something at which you excel and enjoy.  When I was asked to knit the cowl Katniss wore in Catching Fire (no picture- copyright and all), I thought it would be a piece of cake.  It turns out I was wrong.  It was too much for me to do well and since it was a gift for my sister-in-law-to-be, I didn’t feel comfortable giving her a hot mess.  In the end we picked another item (a cute wolf cowl) and I am very happy to be done with all the wedding knitting.  Now I can get back to doing my own projects.  Considering I bought more yarn than I expected this summer, I have been spending time on Ravelry planning more projects.

My writing plans worked out a bit differently than expected.  I have been very busy writing.  I completed the July Camp NaNoWriMo as I hoped and left my writing comfort zone.  Instead of writing about characters that have been in my head for years, I wrote about those newer to me.  I played with writing style a bit (unsuccessfully, but attempted).  I focused primarily on my academic writing though.  With one article about to be put to bed and another almost ready to be pieced together, I am feeling very productive about my work-load reduction.  The process on the first article took longer than expected, but wrangling 4 other collaborators has been the chief difficulty.  I spent too much time waiting for people to respond and contribute.  In the end I realized I had to do and then put time limits onto requests.  When it came to the article I was writing on my own I realized I needed data I couldn’t get until students returned to campus.  I have been writing as much as I can (literature reviews, methodology, and findings on some of the research).  In the end I took a little longer than anticipated.

My vacation and personal time was well spent.  Two trips to Cape Cod and a weekend in The Hamptons helped me relax and get some sun.  My hope it to be able to rent a place on Cape Cod for a whole week next summer since my travel is probably going to be limited to conferences.  I read quite a bit primarily because of audiobooks.  I have been abusing Overdrive through the library most of the summer.  I have enjoyed most of them, but my main objective is to really make a dent in the TBR shelf.  It really is an entire bookshelf, not just a pile.  It is a bit overwhelming sometimes.  I made a small dent this summer and read a few good books.

Now it is time to look towards the fall semester and re-evaluate my plans.  Originally I was going to focus on the work I have done with the College of Health Sciences.  With all the focus on Wikipedia this summer, I am switching things around and am going to focus on my Wikipedia research this fall.  This is going to include both the social drama research and planning edit-a-thons with one of the public librarians.  We are planning to present at a conference about our efforts.  We are planning a lot of things and it has shifted my focus.  It may cause a total re-evaluation of my plans come spring.  I will have to wait and see.

Until then, here is the plan for the Fall

  • Finish and submit all the summer articles to journals.
  • Research Wikipedia and Social Dramas for thesis update and possible publications
  • Plan edit-a-thons with Pollard Memorial Library
  • California for Katie’s and Bethany’s wedding!
  • NaNoWriMo 2014: Sara has no plan!
  • Read, read, and read!
  • And more…



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