Programming for Prism

I’d like to echo the blog posts that Brooke and Sarah made about their excitement regarding Prism and also the associated angst of blogging and transparency.  In addition to the pressure of worrying about “living up to the Scholars’ Lab blog,” I also feel discomforted by the very act of blogging itself; perhaps because I am used to imagining typed text as formal expressions of carefully thought-out ideas for journals, conferences, or a dissertation committee, it feels odd to type and make public thoughts I would more likely share in conversation.  The blog format itself seems to ask for more profound thoughts than my ideas here justify.  However, I look forward to the time when we all will have acclimated to this new way of sharing our thoughts, work, and progress in public!

Although I am certainly looking forward to brainstorming the features of Prism and to reaping the benefits of the finished product in the classroom, I am most excited by the prospect of helping to build it.  While I have some HTML, CSS, and Javascript experience, my actual coding skills are practically non-existent (other than a preliminary knowledge of Python), and I am eager to learn and to improve my DH skill-set.  Over the last two weeks, we have learned the basics of VIM and of Bash and the command line, which, while a bit daunting, is also incredibly empowering.  My husband is a programmer, and I have watched him write code and work in Terminal with ease, and I look forward to gradually understanding more and more of what had previously seemed like multi-colored gibberish on a screen.  Although it’s hard to imagine now, at the beginning of our programming venture, that we will be able to make anything useful to anyone, I have faith that our learning speed will increase and in a few weeks, what now seems daunting will soon seem simple.

Annie was a 2012-2013 Scholars' Lab Fellow, a 2011-12 Praxis Fellow and a PhD candidate in the Department of English.

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