Getting things done

My internship “to do” list has four main categories: practitioner guide, web content, academic paper, and other (it’s not a true exhaustive classification scheme). I’ve made substantial progress in three of these four categories over the last two weeks.

In terms of the practitioner guide, perhaps the main deliverable of my Internship, I’m very pleased to report that I have a pretty good first draft.  I’m less pleased to report that I completely failed at learning how to use Spellcheck with InDesign, and my wonderful mentor Andrea was forced to make quite a few grammatical edits in addition to the content suggestions that should be expected of her.  Still, a complete draft is great progress, and was a major hurdle for me to overcome.  Moving forward, I need to incorporate Andrea’s edits (totally feasible within a few working days) and send the new draft to my second mentor, Rob.  After that, it’s time for community feedback.  As the draft is already formatted, publication should follow soon after we receive and incorporate this third round of feedback.

While gathering content for the practitioner guide I also began posting materials online at  Unfortunately, transferring content from a 10-page PDF to a collection of 10 odd web pages is not a simple function of copy and paste. On Wednesday, I was given the opportunity to present my progress to our working group at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  I got some really great feedback on the form that any web resources (as opposed to PDF primers) will need to take in order to be effective.  Unfortunately, the website currently hosting these materials is in the processes of being re-designed.  An important step here is therefore thinking deeply about the tradeoffs between developing a really good method of web page content delivery—the form of which may be rendered obsolete in 3 months—and focusing on other areas of the project instead.

This conjures the sinister presence of our “Academic Paper,” still to be adequately scoped and defined. First on Monday’s agenda will be getting some strong coffee and having a really good thinking session about what needs to be done in order to make this less of a “presence” and more of a “work.” Part of the problem with the academic paper is that I’ve simply let it get out of hand.  I have way too many ideas, way too many research papers on my computer, way too many possible collaborators.  It’s time to cut things down and develop a much clearer focus.  Part of this will be re-framing the paper in my own mind as something that I have complete control over, something wieldy. After I get things straight in my own head I can start discussing them with other people.

“Other” is a catch-all for pieces of the project that could integrate well with the three main deliverables discussed above.  At the top of the other list is a classification scheme developed to classify citizen science data policy.  A draft of this scheme has been finalized and sent to two possible collaborators; good progress, there.

“Other” also involves the construction of an interactive data policy planning tool.   I haven’t made any recent progress on this to date, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to do so without the help of a more technologically savvy person.  With that said, if I decide to spend less time on the online content, some of my extra efforts will be translated into pushing this forward.

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