With the semester done, the search committee I was on having wrapped up, and – finally – my two article drafts (one on moral panics on the early Canadian Internet and one on WebArchiving) completed, I had an entire afternoon of guilt-free exploratory research.
I love exploratory research. A forthcoming article grew out of exploratory research (blogged about here), when I was messing around with dissertations and citation counts. Now, on the other hand, that obscures out the days and days that I’ve literally spent hitting up against dead ends, batting my wall up against bad data, technical limitations, or sources that never really went everywhere. I have a terabytes of external hard drives, filled up with datasets, some of them representing a few days of work that won’t soon see the light of day.
So it’s nice to have these guilt free days to just play, in a constructive way. I think of it as akin to the Google 20% time. To check out what’s new at the Internet Archive. To take an abstract problem and play with it in a programming language. To listen to a CBC debate on Canadian history.
So what have I discovered today? (more…)