On Intellectual Craftsmanship: Summary
He offers two sorts of advice in his article on intellectual crafts:
1. How to organize your files
2. How to organize your thinking processes
In the case of files we need to think of things quite differently because of the computer. We will all have the same kind of paper files in file cabinets and in our bookshelves, but the procedures for keeping our hard drives are new and emerging. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Everyone needs a bibliography file like “Endnote” to keep a life list or lists of references. Will enable you to enter a reference once and always have it in complete form when you need it
2. You need a way to keep and use both qualitative and quantitative data sets: spread sheets and data bases keep quantitative data and analysis programs like SPSS and SAS enable you to manipulate the data. Qualitative data analysis packages like Nud*st and Ethnograph let you maintain files of interview data.
3. Mills suggests keeping a Journal, but now it should be on disk. Ditto for your reading notes. You will also keep e-mail files and other sorts of correspondence, web documents, web sites, etc. that you might want to be able access. At some point it will make sense to index or code these files to make it easier to find stuff. This can be done with word programs or with standalone programs like Xyindex or Ethnograph.
4. It is easier to keep your computer organized than your paper files and you need to build systems to integrate these two — tickler files, brainstorm lists, hypertext type links
5. Any system begins to break down and you will need to do what Mills recommended in terms of cleaning out and reorganizing files on an ongoing basis.
6. One issue we have that Mills did not, is that the programs and operating systems necessary to access our files and documents become obsolete. You need