Saturday, July 23, 2005

Palm Caked Hard

Quick and Dirty research (really just wanted to see Q in drop caps).  I accepted an invitation to participate in (talk/click)-ing through a few minutes of a session for incoming TA's on Q&D.  A few others will give brief pitches, too, so I can't hog the floor (not that I would).  Thinking for now that I'll emphasize the D--dirty, as in the perpetual grubbing aligned with aggregation and a few other must-use sites.  The 'Dirty' in research not only identifies with the hands-dirty dig-dump-sift set of metaphors, as was so eloquently introduced to me by a memorable professor at my MA alma mater what, six years ago; it also drops the point of a spade into composition's material orthodoxy.  Unsifted presumptions about the material suited to composition research preserves the orthodoxy (straight phenomenological knowing), avoiding the deep down griminess, and instead digging materials delicately, troweling with too much propriety.  Worry-free and proven: Spray-n-Wash. Library databases: Quick and Clean research--different work involved in plucking a clean-authorized article (scrubbed by peer review), patching it into an essay.  

Let me try to say a bit more.  What materials are un/becoming for composition? (You know I've been reading Sirc's book slow and steady, until recently: concerned about bread only.)  I want to avoid the way of talking about Q&D research that ordains the library (and its subscription databases) alone.  We already have a hundred ways of talking about Boolean strings into ProQuest, and if we run dry on ways of talking about such things, we can schedule entire class sessions where a librarian will break it down, work through examples and prove the merits of every database we wish to query.  Now someone might mistake me to be saying that I don't think students should understand how to undertake library research.  Nah. Not so.  I love the library. I even have a Friends of the Library membership card for my undergrad alma mater for kicking in a few bucks and earmarking it for books.  I have seventeen borrowed books right here. But they're not in accordance with Q&D research. But I think a Q&D method doesn't strive to eliminate the happen(ings)stance--chance encounters, unpredictability, surprising messes. As for the "quick" in this tandem, I suppose it's clear enough that it refers to the temporal quality of a process, the truism of time as a aspect of any event. Less time for the Q&D.

I'm not trying to make trouble, just want work through some of the stuff racing around in my earliest pre-thinking.  I don't want to assume there is any confusion about Quick and Clean versus Quick and Dirty (of course everyone gets this, yeah?), and I don't want to seem over-eager in asserting the merits and vitality of unconventional materials, although I do think it's a question we mustn't stop vetting: where do allowable materials begin and end?  And so something more moderate (reasoned, settled, ortho-) will present some of the following sites as as worthy of having on hand (for the hand with cuticles bearing an easily-washed-away speck of dirt, anyhow):  Google Advanced Operators Cheat Sheet, Google Print, oishii, FindArticles, and for gem-finds, Bloglines with subscriptions to a few well-chosen del.icio.us tags.  To those doing image sequences: Flickr and front page photos, I suppose. See?  If I was really way out to sea on this one, I'd have admitted a plan to bring more ridiculously exemplary alter-materials: such as this or this (via).

Bookmark and Share Posted by at July 23, 2005 8:22 PM to Dry Ogre Chalking
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