Leaving Emory, joining UCLA

Image of the U.S., with the states of Georgia and California highlighted and connected by a dotted line in the shape of a heart.
Illustration by Carrie of the Here & There Shop, who is a pleasure to work with. Click on the image to commission your own print!

I’m equal parts delighted and heartbroken to say that I’ve accepted a new job. As of February 10, I’ll be the digital humanities program coordinator at the University of California, Los Angeles. January 13 is my last official day at Emory. The decision to accept the job was really difficult — I love being at Emory, I love the library, and I love my colleagues. I’m so proud of what we’ve done together. Still, this new position is a significant opportunity for me: the chance to shape a growing program in California, the state where I grew up and which I care about deeply.

I’ll spare you the weepy theatrics, except to say that I feel really fortunate, both for the opportunities Emory has offered me and for the new opportunity I’ve been afforded.

Research tools redux: What I use

Photo of archival binders
Photo by pixelhut

I posted recently about tools for managing a research workflow, and one of the points I made is that no set of tools will be right for everyone. I’ve tried and failed to foist my favorite tools on enough people to know that this is true.

Still, after I wrote the post, a few people asked me which tools I use. I do indeed have a number of favored tools, and since I find myself endlessly fascinating, I enjoyed the chance to consider why I use them and what it says about me as a researcher. I’d also really love to hear what you use and why!

Here’s what I use in a nutshell:

I haven’t used DEVONthink much in the past, but after giving it a more concentrated trial for my last post, I suspect it will make its way into my workflow, too.

Here’s why these tools work for me:

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The subtle art of workshop-giving

People working on computers at a workshop
"The moment behind the photo workshop," by ABC Open Central Victoria

Over the last couple of years, I’ve given a number of (somewhat) technical workshops for grad students and faculty here at Emory. I love doing it. It’s really gratifying to impart skills, and preparing for workshops gives me a chance to think through and develop my own knowledge in a systematic way.

It’s not that easy, though. Teaching a workshop requires no less skill than teaching any other kind of class, and just as much preparation. It’s also slightly different from, say, leading a discussion section; it requires a different method of instruction and different kinds of preparation.

This semester, one of DiSC’s grad fellows, Franky Abbott, has been helping us perform a comprehensive assessment of our activities, including workshops. With Franky’s help, we’ve been collecting and analyzing survey results, and I now feel I have a much better sense of what works and doesn’t work for students.

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Reading Steve Jobs: labor, race, and growing up in the Bay Area

"Silicon Valley," by Revolweb

Not long ago I read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Or I should say I listened to it, as an audiobook, on my iPhone. The experience was riveting, though not always pleasant.

Like Steve Jobs, I grew up in the Bay Area. In fact, I was growing up in the Bay Area while Jobs was building Apple. Like Jobs, I was accustomed to hearing old-timers describing how before the boom, there used to be apricot orchards, just down there, “far as the eye could see.”

What fascinated me, though, was how far away Apple’s Cupertino headquarters seems from East Side San Jose, where I grew up. Jobs might as well have been living in a different Bay Area.

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