Tool refresh: a crash course

Tool refresh: a crash course
It’s one thing to start playing around with the tools and methods associated with the Digital Humanities, it’s quite another to get a grip on the best digital practices to help you organize your research and pedagogy.  Even if you prefer to approach your academic tasks with nothing more savvy than a good old fashion book and thinking cap, the ability to stay afloat in today’s info deluge all but requires some software know how past your basic word processor.
But figuring out what tools to use and invest time in can be a daunting task.  Spending an afternoon importing citations into Zotero and then never using the program again can make one less eager to experiment with new software.  And while there is a wealth of academic blog posts and articles (Prof Hacker, for example) that spotlight various methods, no amount of praise can guarantee that any method will be useful for your own workflow.  Even furthermore, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with new tools and new updates. More often than not, time gone into researching or integrating tools often feels like time wasted on primary research.  And so, we often inherit practices haphazardly.  Someone sends you a Dropbox invite to share a file, and then, voila, you’re a Dropbox user. Then, a few months later, you run out of room.  No one told you that other cloud storage services have 10 GB of free space instead of 2 GB.
This Wednesday, Keith and I will be running the first of a two-part crash course through digital tools that we think are of use for research and pedagogy.  Not only will we be covering tools that specifically cater to academic needs, such as citation managers, annotators and notetakers, but also tools and practices that might make life easier in general, like password managers, task managers, forms, and data back up plans.  Our aim is to show you not only what sort of tools we think are most applicable but also what features to look for so that you can quickly judge what might work best for you. Characteristics we will consider are cost, security, compatibility and exportability.
We’ll be adding info to the tools wiki on the CUNY Academic Commons.  If you don’t have a Commons membership, Graduate Center students and faculty can sign up here.  Feel free to add to the the wiki, or add questions, tips or specific tech problems below.
If you would like to attend the workshop, please RSVP for either our first or second workshop at Eventbrite. For more information, contact gc.digitalfellows@gmail.com or see our Events page for a full list of workshops.
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