One of the most irritating things in the life of a student, at least to my mind, is not knowing what to do with your work once it is complete. After spending an entire semester, or in the case of a thesis an entire year working on a major paper, it often will just sit there taking up space on your computer. I find it so frustrating because I don’t want to get rid of it, because as a historian I have a weird need to have a small archive of my work, but at the same time I don’t want it to just sit there.
The solution that I have found thanks to the advice of professors and fellow students is sharing your work by publishing it online. In order to do so there are many options out there. One of my favourites to date has been putting my work on academia.edu. However, as I have learned this year through the process of finishing my thesis there are other options out there as well. For instance simply publishing in a private blog such as this one.
While it does not seem at first that this will accomplish much at all, it is a great networking opportunity also. By blogging about it and then perhaps Tweeting a link to your work with appropriate hashtags, academics of similar interest will be able to find your work. Helping others find your work allows your work to spread and be read by more individuals who can give you feedback on your work. This feedback will lead to more successful writing in your academic future. As an example I will publish my work on this blog to demonstrate how easy it is.
Deciding on how to publish my thesis was a difficult task. Luckily I had the help of of my supervisor for suggestions. I could think of only one way of publishing, put up a PDF of the file on a publishing website such as academia.edu. However, he was able to suggest to me some alternative forms that could prove useful as they could be a more accessible read to some. Seeing as my entire thesis is about accessibility and the written word, I thought this was a great idea.
So to begin I will publish a PDF file of my thesis right here (Thesis FINAL Copy) followed by a full copy in Notational Velocity. Notational Velocity will allow the work to look like a virtual book with chapters stacked on top of one another rather than the endless virtual scroll of a PDF file.
To do this download notational velocity (http://brettterpstra.com/projects/nvalt/). Then, download the attached zip folder (hollis-thesis)and unzip it. In Notational Velocity, go to Preferences -> Notes and select that folder under ‘read notes from folder’. Then, under preferences -> notes -> storage, select under ’store and read notes on disk as ‘plain text files’. My thesis will now become available. In the search bar, try ‘accessibility’ and see all the bits and pieces come together! An original, non-linear reading experience that breaks the tyranny of the infinite scroll shall appear.
Finally, I will also publish a copy using a program called Twine.The amazing thing about Twine is that it allows the reader to see a work from a more external perspective. Twine does this by allowing you to make a game puzzle using themes from your work. So for my puzzle I will attempt to bring the reader through the experiences of a disabled academic. This will make it so the reader can have a greater understanding of the struggles that were brought up in my thesis and therefore have a greater appreciation for the paper while reading it.
The Twine version is a little more complicated to make obviously so that will be published soon in my next blog. For now, enjoy the PDF and Notational Velocity versions…