Seeing as it is the last day of September, I feel I am overdue for an update on here about what I’ve been up to. This summer was very busy! I attended three conferences, collected a majority of the data for my dissertation, and wrote as much as I could. I am very nearly done with my data collection and am currently working on analysis while also making progress on other areas of the dissertation.
The fall semester is in full swing here in Ann Arbor and I am currently serving as the Graduate Student Instructor in SI629: Access Systems for Archival Materials. Here is a course decription. Other than this, I am writing as much as possible! The picture below should give you a good sense of where I’m at as I write this post.
This is not a photograph of me. But look at that chair. And that beard.
With accommodations as luxurious as this, it’s no wonder I’ve been a writing fool…and now before I make any more nonsense jokes about anonymous historical figures posing for pictures composing text at small desks, I will mercifully end this post and return to my dissertation.
Just a quick note that I’ll be heading to Aguascalientes, Mexico for the 15th Annual Conference on Digital Government Research this week. I am participating in the doctoral colloquium and presenting a poster at the poster session on Thursday (6/19).
The conference website and full schedule and is here. If you’re at the conference stop by and say hi!
This week I encountered what I suppose could be considered a graduate school and library milestone. A book that I had checked out, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (WorldCat), had been renewed too many times and was being recalled despite the fact that no one else at the University of Michigan seems to want it. It was a good book that laid the foundation for much of the subsequent work on public goods and helped me explore a new area of literature for my dissertation proposal. One of Olson’s main lessons in the book was that as groups increase in size, their ability to act collectively act in the service of common goals decreases because the logistics of organizing become increasingly difficult. It also becomes easier for people to become “free riders” and benefit from collective action without contributing to its acquisition.
In any case, the main point of this post is that I’ve never had a book recalled because I renewed it too many times. When I return to writing my literature review for my dissertation I’ll be back in library to get it once again.
Around Ann Arbor, the semester is ending and classes are coming to an end. For me, however, a new project is just beginning: I recently completed my dissertation proposal and moved into the final stage of my career as a doctoral student: ABD (all but dissertation). My dissertation, titled “The Changing Landscape of Digital Access: Public-Private Partnerships and Cultural Heritage Institutions” for now, examines the emergent set of relationships between public archives and libraries and private companies around digitization projects for archival records. I’m interested in how these partnerships take shape, how they are negotiated and managed, what records they focus on, and how these types of arrangements affect public access to these digitized materials.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been conducting a series of interviews with employees at private sector companies (non-profit and for-profit) who are involved in negotiations and contract work with archives and libraries. These have been extremely fruitful conversations and I am looking forward to diving into analyzing the transcripts next term. Additionally, I’ve visited the business school and law libraries here on the University of Michigan campus to identify additional resources that may be useful in my research. I enjoy these opportunities to meet librarians across the university and discuss my research with them. The outside perspective has helped me find new databases and academic research tools that I will certainly use as I continue to move forward on this project.
On that note, I should get back to work! Writing is a process, and I hope to use this blog as a sounding board for ideas and a place to reflect on my research process as I progress through the dissertation.
Next week at the ASIS&T 2013 Conference in Montreal, QC, Canada, I will present a paper I co-authored with members of my research team on the DIPIR Project entitled “The Role of Data Reuse in the Apprenticeship Process.” The abstract is here and full a conference program is here.
I’ll be presenting at 8:00 on Monday morning! Hoping for a good turnout. I will post links to the paper and my slides here after the conference.
For years, NPR has been a loyal friend to me each morning, keeping me informed as I begin my day. However, sometimes the transition towards my actual work is difficult. Take this morning, for example. This hour, the Diane Rehm show is discussing the effects of a declining government workforce, privatization, and contracting on the economy (here’s a link). I can’t stop listening. What I should be working on is my dissertation proposal, which is also about public-private partnerships and cultural heritage institutions, specifically archives.
Below I’ve inserted an image I am using to illustrate the concept of public-private partnerships. Basic, I know, but what do you think?
OK, that’s enough. The show is over, time to turn the radio off. Back to work.