That Thing You Use

Whenever I’m around people using computers to do things I think are cool, I notice lots of unfamiliar applications and workflows. I’m wondering if a productive conversation for some of us to have would be to talk through our favorite software, hardware, and tools for the humanities things we use technology to accomplish the things we accomplish. Something along the lines of The Setup, but all together, in a room, where we can demonstrate things and recommend things to each other.

I’m thinking questions we could answer could include:

  • What is your favorite text editor/word processor, and why?
  • What is your screenshot workflow?
  • What databases, archives, catalogs, or collections are essential to your work?
  • What is your academic writing workflow?
  • What do you carry with you when you travel for research or conferences?
  • What technologies do you use in the classroom?
  • How do you read/manage/save things you read online?
  • What are some free/open source alternatives to well-known expensive packages?
  • What’s in your browser’s bookmarks bar?
  • What are your backup practices?

I’m mostly interested in bringing the practical matters of our work activities into the conversation. Sometimes learning a handful of new tools for personal use can transform the way we approach our work, but even if I learn about something that saves me 2-3 minutes or a modicum of frustration on a daily basis, I will be grateful.

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session Proposals, Session: Talk |
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About Patrick Williams

Librarian for Literature, Rhetoric, and Digital Humanities at Syracuse University. I am the editor of Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics, and lead editor of the dh+lib Review. I received my B.A. in English from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.S. ('04) and Ph.D. ('11) in Information Studies from the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin.

2 Responses to That Thing You Use

  1. Jerry Robinson says:

    I like this idea. I am interested in productivity maximization as well. I have one suggestion. Our immediate environment can be just as crucial to productivity as software and hardware. Perhaps it would be good to include elements of our physical workspaces that support digital/computer-based work in this discussion.

  2. I love that idea–the materiality of others’ workspaces is also another thing I like to peek into, and is so intertwined with the digital. If you haven’t seen it, From the Desk Of at Real Pants is a series that shares a lot with The Setup, but is focused on workspace (full disclosure: my desk is there!).

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