#100DaysofDH in the life of a happynoob

Okay, I did it. This week I finished my 100 Days of DH challenge, all set up by our ninja Sarah. She wrote about her challenges here, focusing on the visualization process and the planning around, and here (her ninja-post). I started my challenge more than a 100 days ago and I had my own rules for it (you can read about it here). We both tried 100 Days of Dissertation – while I loved this one, Sarah was not so convinced.

And now it is my turn on reviewing my 100 Days of DH. I had the following rules:

  1. I am not forcing myself to sit everyday at my desk and starring at my laptop to code or whatever.
  2. Coding, mapping, … reading.
  3. Digital source criticism
  4. Trying to find out how to use DH methods or tools for my research.
  5. I use this challenge also for a glance around myself in the virtual world.

So, how did I get along with that? First of all, I did not sit everyday at my desk and got mad while trying to code or playing around with QGIS. I tried to spent weekends without screens – worked out really fine for me. I need some time off and I actually had a lot of good ideas on some problems with mapping and so on while being absent from screenwork. So, Nr. 1 was a good decision.

And referring to Nr. 2, yes, reading. I worked myself through some tutorials, I read some documentations – LaTeX stuff mostly, but also QGIS things that got me busy. I really tried to follow each word and I gave myself a lot of time. Not always easy… I am more the “I want it and I want it NOW” – kind of person. I found a lot of interesting tutorials and blogs on R, QGIS, Python, XML & Co. … I spent a lot of time reading and broadening my knowledge on what is out there. So, I did also very good on rule Nr. 5.

Rule Nr. 3 was also nicely fulfilled by my reading time. And this world of digital data criticism is really huge, folks. I guess, I will stick with it some more time. My reading brought me down the rabbit holes of DH more than once – and I stumbled from one topic to the next one – and so, I actually found a lot of things I want to try for my research.

I also did a winterschool on digital editions (in case you did not read my review on this amazing week, you can find it here) and I was really mindblown by some tools and functions I learned.

I tried to keep track of my hours working on the challenge, but I am really bad at it. Shame on me, I am really good with planning, but with the semester getting longer and longer and the pandemic crazier, I really lost track of my days. It got better with the beginning of the semester break, though. But I am now facing a lot of challenges – there will be article reviews to handle, publication drafts to write and also some grant planning and writing… Therefore, I will dismiss my plan of a #100DaysofCode. I just do not have the time and nerves. And brainpower 😉

Anyways, I will keep my focus on QGIS and GIS for classical studies, because I have a good chance on giving a course next winter semester. So, there will be busy preparation work and looking for some nice tutorials for my students. Well, at least, I will do this in case I am surviving the next three months. There are some tasks I need to focus on. And I need to do this in the most motivated and discplined way. So, sorry for my D-part, you will have to stay on pause for some time. But I will be back, I promise. 🙂

What are my lessons learned:

  1. The more I worked on it, the more I discovered – and the more I was feeling overwhelmed. While enthusiasm is great and important, I was sometimes near to loosing it because of the huge amount on possibilities. And I just can’ learn everything, right?
  2. Next thing: Some people who are not into DH or at least technical methods and tools, are always in the opinion that you as being the youngest team member are a technical native. And they tend to underestimate the amount of work and time needed, e.g. for cleaning data or for drawing maps. I got really frustrated by their attitude. I really had to chew on the sometimes really stuck-up statements on how I should use my time on the “right” thing to do, not some crazy technical stuff. Maybe this is a generation gap and I had really bad timing. But be it as it may, I learned to stay with my plans and I successfully closed my ears.
  3. Focusing on one or two things at least – I will stay with GIS and all the possibilities for archaeology and classics. I will focus on QGIS and Python, learning it in a concentrated way. And I will say no to further experiments on DH-tools; at least for this year.
  4. I am very proud of me and I know that I can learn even quite difficult technical stuff – all by myself. This is actually a trauma I had since my schooldays – we had the year 2005 and I was told by a teacher that as a girl I should focus on languages and art, not on computer science or physics. At least he did not tell me that I am too pretty for natural sciences, but it was close. He told me that all those things are very complex and complicated and that I am good at languages so I should focus on that talent. I did, really neglecting all technical knowlegde for a long time.
    Well, programming languages are languages too. 😉
  5. 100 Days in a row are tough and not appropriate for every task. My next 100 days (well, three months more or less) will be dedicated to writing and research. Also tough, but absolutely necessary 😉 And I am really excited about it. And there is a lot of coursework to prepare… And one day we will be back for another 100 Days
  6. I am really bad a poting regularly on Insta or Twitter. This one is on me, I am sorry. 🙂

Okay, this is it, thank you for reading.

I will tell you about my current projects soon. Stay safe and carry on, you are doing a good job!
All the best,
Astrid


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