GradHacker: Choose Your Own Database Adventure Game

GradHacker: Choose Your Own Database Adventure Game

An excerpt from my latest GradHacker post!

“The first time I ever touched a computer was in the second grade. Our elementary school had built a state-of-the-art computer lab, which was attached to our library. One afternoon, we filed into the windowless room and nervously sat in front of our computers. I had absolutely no idea what these boxes were even supposed to do, but, after an hour, I had learned how to turn my Mac II on, insert a floppy disk, and play Number Muncher. Many of my classmates were unimpressed though I was enthralled. From then on, I did everything I could to get back into that lab. Yes, I liked learning DOS commands and typing, but mostly I just wanted to play Oregon Trail or Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

These early experiences, supervised by librarians and teachers, established a strong connection for me between computers and information. Because of this, research has always felt like a game. I study history, for example, like I would play a game of Clue, strategically working my way backwards to understand what happened, when, and why.

After I passed my qualifying exams and started writing my dissertation, though, research became an overwhelmingly demanding job. Books and microfilm reels and citations and journal articles and notebooks and dictionaries and random scraps of paper started piling up quicker than I could process them. Every time I entered my office, I heard Venkman say, “No human being would stack books this way.”

It was time to get my act together and corral my collection; it was time to build a dissertation database.” […]

To read the rest, check out the full article at GradHacker, Inside Higher Ed!

[Image from Flickr user abstrkt.ch, and used under Creative Commons License]

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