Friday, February 22, 2013

The Wheels Are Rolling

This past week has been quite refreshing. I began to take a deeper look into the dissertations that Dr. Shermer had asked me to gather for her new book. Not only has the research began to intensify, but the cataloging process has as well. I gained a large degree of familiarity with the Zotero program- this program allows me to link up with Dr. Shermer to share a working bibliography (we share a username and password so that she can easily refer to the sources that I plug into the system).
I began to plug various sources into Zotero in the manner which I was instructed. As I started to put more and more material into Zotero, the process became significantly easier and more straight forward. Our meeting this week had the primary focus of ensuring that I was cataloging information correctly. After discussing such matters, it became clear that I had made two minor errors in my use of Zotero thus far. One pertained to where I was placing my summary of the source and the other pertaining to how I tagged each source. 
I was asked to entail a short 3-4 sentence description of each source as I enter it into Zotero. This description would include the primary argument that the author is making and any necessary details to make the thesis more sensible. The mistake I made with Zotero was fairly simple- I accidentally put the summaries in the wrong spot. Instead of placing them under "notes", I placed them under "abstract". In order to remedy this I simply copy/pasted them into the appropriate place. The summaries themselves were fine. 
The other issue (as I noted) pertained to the tagging process. In short, I made the tags too lengthy. If an article pertained to "administration", "finance", and "infrastructure", I tagged it was "administration/finance/infrastructure". By doing this I created a multitude of tags, rather that having several articles tagged under "finance" (for example). Fixing this was also quite quick and painless. 
It makes me quite happy that these two small errors were the only issues with my research thus far. I must say that cataloging these sources did take a bit longer than anticipated- but much of that just had to do me gaining a greater sense of familiarity with the database. As I cataloged more and more, this process became much easier. All things considered things have been going quite well. 

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