Thursday, 30 March 2017

This is the night

This is the night

Later the weight of wood, the darkened sky,

those who will see strange things, those who deride him.

We do not see Jesus enthroned on high.

The picture's clustered soldiers almost hide him.

Blindfold, he singles out no captor's fist.

The childhood-nasty blares from the horn

deafen Jesus. Worn, he does not resist.

This is the night. We must pray for dawn.

'This is the night' is my response to Albrecht Dürer's print The mocking of Christ.  It's my contribution to the '26 prints' project organised jointly by the writers' group 26 Characters and the Eames Fine Art Gallery. The Dürer and my poem are on display in the gallery, along with 25 other prints and 25 other writers' responses to them, until 16 April, and all the works are reproduced in the exhibition guide.

Fuller information about the print is on the site of American dealer Masterworks Fine Art and in the book Albrecht Dürer: woodcuts and woodblocks by Walter L. Strauss (New York: Abaris, 1980), p. 360.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Thing 21: Managing citations

The post behind this assignment sends us to Zotero, ORCID, and Google Scholar.


This round of 23things has taken me further with Zotero than I've been before. In my 2010 post, I wrote that I had attempted to use Zotero a couple of years previously, but been deterred by the facts that "I had to download Zotero machine by machine, and could use it only with Firefox".  For this '23 research things' assignment, done on my home laptop, I've succeeded in embarking on a Zotero library via Chrome, and ventured an in-text citation in Open Office Writer.  By the time you read this, I may have seen how I get on using my workplace computer's Firefox and MS Word.

I expect that my two principal uses of Zotero will be these: 

(i) to keep track of material used in Alumni Festival presentations, as in my abortive experiment of 2008 

(ii) to help any library users in their own explorations of referencing software.


I have set up an ORCID account for myself in the same spirit as Librarian at heart, who signed up for ORCID even "while I may not be publishing papers any time soon", and with similar motivation (cf. (ii) above): "it’s useful to know how ORCID works as the University is trying to persuade everyone to get one, and it’s good to be able to offer advice based on experience when people ask".  And, like ResearchGate,, LinkedIn and some less serious sites, ORCID will be a way of tracking down visitors, donors, and other library users we might lose sight of.

Google Scholar

I have set up a Google Scholar account for myself, again with no prospect of papers any time soon.  I don't intend making it public.  I was glad to find that Google Scholar offered one publication of mine (amongst those by several other people with similar names) for inclusion in my citations list, a gratifying discovery even though the number of its citations stands at zero. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Thing 20: Presenting data

I must admit I've never had a favourite chart of choice, nor can I immediately recall a data presentation either bad or good enough to stick in my memory.  But I have tried out one of the data visualisation tools mentioned in Georgina's post. I went for, the one that had been used by the other participants, following their praise for its ease of use.  It took me a certain amount of trial and error to use it, especially as I didn't see a 'Help' page.  However, I hope you agree I have succeeded in making a Venn diagram of data from my blog post of January 2011, on poetry competitions.

The data concerns my poetic output from 1977 to 2011, as recorded in the card index I've kept since 1994.  Of a total 218 indexed poems, I counted 95 that had been specially written for competitions, 67 that had been published, and 25 that had been both written for competitions and published. Making the Venn diagram required some revisiting of 'O'-level maths, to determine whether the radii of the smaller circles should measure against the large circle in the ratios 95/218 and 67/218, or in ratios of the squares of 95/218 and 67/218, or in the ratios of the square roots of 95/218 and 67/218.  But I think I got there.

I have not used Microsoft Excel's SmartArt facility, but I suppose I had better try it some day, if I'm going to make a habit of Venn diagrams.