A few years ago as a pre-ABD graduate student, I wrote a post for the blog that has proved to have a longer shelf-life than most. That post, “Digital Workflow for Historians,” laid out how I used two programs, Papers and Scrivener, to manage my research and writing process. At the end of that post, I offered to share my project template and Chicago-style Compile (or export) preset. Over three years later, I still get emails on a monthly basis asking for those files. Following a discussion on Twitter last week about using Scrivener, it seemed the time was right to revisit the topic and to show how I ended up using Scrivener throughout the dissertation process, from organizing my research to producing drafts and revisions of chapters. Continue reading
Methodology and note-taking have been popular topics at The Junto, opinions and preferences ranging from Rachel Herrmann’s defense of good-olde-fashioned index cards, to Michael Hattem’s detailed tour of his digital workflow. I’d like to throw my hat into the ring and suggest yet another tool: timeline software.
I’m a visual person, and while a table is technically a “visual,” nothing makes me happier than seeing those rows and columns transform into something a bit more appealing.
Minor admission: I’m years late to the timeline game. But since I began using chronology software this summer—having finally leaped into the archives with little more than a macbook and a dream—my master timeline has become my best friend, my go-to reference guide. Why? Because timelines gives me easy access to, and visualization of, each and every who, what, where, and when of my project. And then some. It’s my very own personalized tool to quickly know (or estimate) where any individual or object in my project is at a given time.
So much has changed in the last few decades, particularly in terms of digitization, in the ways historians access materials, the level and ease of access to those materials, and the methods of delivery for the work that comes from that access. But access is not the only thing that has changed. Working in the digital realm offers historians new tools with which to approach their task, the core of which remains unaffected by these developments. On that theme, I thought I would talk a little bit about my workflow and the tools that I use which allow the work to flow (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Continue reading
When I was in Philadelphia recently to present a paper at the McNeil Center, I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet undergraduate students who were working on research papers as part of the MCEAS Undergraduate Research Workshop. I was asked to talk about my research methods—how I go about finding sources, how I organize them, and how I pull them together into (sometimes) coherent prose. In doing so, I outed myself as a very old-fashioned researcher, indeed. Continue reading