Author Archives: Vivian Bagley
Author Archives: Vivian Bagley
Today starts the third week of the Digital Method Workshop Series. Unfortunately, we had limited attendance last week, so we hope more faculty and grad students will be available this week. I must thank Dr. McLeod of the Department of History for her continued enthusiasm and frequent participation, but also extend my appreciation to the other two professors who have attended our workshops and been eager to learn more.
The workshops this week are particularly useful for two reasons: the first is absolutely crucial for anyone who has a large library of articles printed out and stashed in numerous filing cabinets or piles. On Wednesday, we will discuss scanners and demonstrate how easy it can be to create digital archives from extensive paper collections. The importance of digital sources seems fairly obvious, but the number of activities made easier through digitization is growing daily. Of all the workshops we are offering, the Scanning and Acrobat Pro workshop is probably one of the most useful.
The second workshop this week focuses on Scrivener, a unique composition tool that has potential to improve writing workflows and project management. Unlike Microsoft Word or OpenOffice, Scrivener was designed not for word processing, but for writing. It emphasizes the needs of a writer, academic or otherwise, and eliminates many unnecessary distractions.
I can offer one prime example of Scrivener’s immense value: in April 2012, I was an editor for the Brock University Creative Writers’ Club and was working to compile our members’ writing to publish in our yearly anthology. The other committee members worked tirelessly to edit the submissions while I collected and formatted them with Scrivener. Although the software was not designed for that purpose, we managed to input, format, and create a publishable book in less than eight hours. Scrivener afforded me enough control to create what we needed and is simple to use once you explore its abilities.
Our three participants were excited to learn about digital tools and began exploring enthusiastically, quickly setting up the necessary accounts and installing the free software. At the end of the workshops, they seemed driven to make digital tools part of their research method, or at least to practice using them.
The workshops are designed to build from relatively easy tools toward more complicated ones such as DevonThink. This week will feature Zotero, the citation management software, and wikis, which can be used in courses to improve student participation and access to readings.
In conclusion, if you plan on writing in the future or have a collection of research material that consumes physical space with gusto, attend our workshops this week. We’ll demonstrate a method for improving your workflow, efficiency, and productivity. Or your money back.*
A schedule of the workshops can be found here. All are welcome to attend.
Last week, we hosted the first two workshops, in which we demonstrated Dropbox, Evernote, RSS feeds, and Google Reader.