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Staying Broad and Shallow: Learning on the Fly (Eric Monson)

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Presentation by Eric Monson, Duke University research scientist, on how to train up quickly in new areas and skills. This was part of a panel presentation in the Duke University Libraries' series "Doing DH," providing tips and information on key activities of digital humanities practitioners.

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Staying Broad and Shallow: Learning on the Fly (Eric Monson)

  1. 1. Staying broad and shallow: Learning on the Fly (LOTF) Eric E Monson, PhD Duke Visualization & Interactive Systems
  2. 2. IP case law text visualizations
  3. 3. 1 · Shape your own destiny There are often many possible tools for the job. Pick ones that you want to learn and that match your strengths and personality.
  4. 4. Tools learned for court case work •  •  •  •  •  MongoDB · doc-centered NoSQL database Google Refine · data cleaning / regularization Apache Solr · Lucene-based search DB / server PHP · server-side web scripting D3.js · JavaScript data / DOM / vis library (already knew some: Python, BeautifulSoup, Mallet)
  5. 5. 2 · Be smart about your resources
  6. 6. 2 · Be smart about your resources I couldn’t do my job without the internet. Use it for very specific solutions, skills, examples and comparisons.
  7. 7. 2 · Be smart about your resources Choose books for a well thought out presentation. Documentation and tutorials don’t have the same conceptual organization.
  8. 8. 2 · Be smart about your resources Although Lynda.com tutorial series are great and free through OIT.
  9. 9. 2 · Be smart about your resources Ask real people. They can pass along the art with the information.
  10. 10. 3 · Get out of your own way
  11. 11. 3 · Get out of your own way Ignore a lot of things. Technologies you “should” learn, functionality you’re not using. You’ll go deeper next time around.
  12. 12. 3 · Get out of your own way Don’t go down the rabbit hole. Build the minimal conceptual framework to make it all stick. Going too deeply into background or any single area is not helpful.
  13. 13. 3 · Get out of your own way Keep your old work accessible and well organized (github, etc). LOTF will eventually be things you knew last year and can't remember now.
  14. 14. 3 · Get out of your own way It’s true – there are a lot of people better than you are at what you’re trying to do. If those people were available, that would be great. They’re not, so let it go and do your best.

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