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Ryan P. Randall

Instruction & Outreach Librarian at the College of Western Idaho ∴ Literary, media & cultural studies ∴ Web Editor at In the Library with the Lead Pipe ∴ Sous les pavés, la plage ∴ We are, as always, stubborn, stoked, and petrified - GY!BE

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Weekly Whaaa…?


Emily Ford’s “To badges or not to badge? From ‘yes’ to ‘never again’”

“To badge or not to badge? From ‘yes’ to ‘never again’”

I really like this article and appreciate Emily Ford’s perspective here. Oddly enough, we’ve gone ahead with a variant of badging at my college just this semester. It’s really more about flipping the content than a “badging” system, and I think we’re doing it in a way that avoids the pitfalls she’s laid out nicely in this article. At least, I hope we are. We’re doing assessment, so we’ll find out!

Pablo Stanley’s “The Type Snob”

The Type Snob (and how to turn into one)

I’m not exactly pro-snob, but I am staunchly in favor of a well-made explainer.

VukanJ’s “bibtex-helper” for Atom

Ever since I first read Dennis Tenen and Grant Wythoff’s Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text using Pandoc and Markdown lesson at The Programming Historian, I’ve been into the idea of using Pandoc and BibTeX. I haven’t done so extensively—just for the last semester of library school, so far.

However, I really like the idea of using simplified citekeys, so I’m putting together a system around this now, as I’m in the middle of a writing project that uses a lot of articles I’m highly likely to use again in the future.

Which is where VukanJ’s bibtext-helper comes in. I’ve taken to using the Atom editor whenever I can, and VukanJ’s tool is basically a set of snippets I can invoke by typing the citation style (e.g. @inproceedings or @article), which prompts Atom to expand the snippet into a citation template with all the appropriate fields for that type of citation. At first I couldn’t figure out how to add it to Atom, since VukanJ’s documentation is…let’s say “light.” I eventually just hit select-all on this file, copied everything, then pasted it into my snippets.cson file in Atom. At first it didn’t work, so I changed the '.text.bibtex' in line 1 to '.text.md'. Now it sings! I did alter a few things—specifically adding @crossref = {} to the @inbook, @incollection, @inproceedings, and @inreference snippets, as Nelson H. F. Beebe’s super-helpful guide suggests. I also added address = {} to the relevant snippets.

For the last few things I’ve written, I used Zotero to collate the info and then Bibdesk to put the citation into my writing. But I profoundly didn’t like how that combination wouldn’t let me change the citekey. Numbers and time aren’t intrinsically meaningful to my mind, so I’d much rather cite something as @hall_local_and_global than @hall_1989a. I also didn’t like how the Zotero + Bibdesk citations would seem to arbitrarily decide to force capitalization.

I’m thinking I might put up my main bibliography file on Github somewhere, either as part of this site or somewhere else. It’d be nice to be able to refer to those citekeys from anywhere I might be writing or making reading notes. But for now—actually almost a month after I first wrote the paragraphs above—I’m just going to mention this as one the next citation approach I’m exploring.

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