Going (Back) to School

There are so many new avenues of exploration opening up right now, and so many ways to pursue them, that I really do wish I could put my career on hold for a mere few months and just spend some time rolling in all the educational opportunities that are now offered and that could give me the kind of education I have always, always wanted. I can’t, of course, put things on hold, but I can take time here and there to teach myself things like:

* **linear algebra** and **statistics** for better understandings of how to transform complex realities, like texts, into numerical descriptions in order either to verify already intuited patterns or to discern new kinds of unanticipated patterns,
* **Python** in particular, and perhaps **R** too, so that I could both do things with the texts themselves or with the numbers into which they have been transformed, and
* **data visualization** concepts and methods both to realize results as well as, possibly, to glimpse new results through the design and development process (plus, I really like pretty pictures — as a sometimes nonverbal thinker, I depend on diagramming quite often as I work).

And part of me is still interested in old-fashioned **database design** because, in the end, you gotta find some way to keep and account for all this stuff, and it really, really helps others if you have done a decent job upfront and not stuffed everything into an idiosyncratic box of your own devising. And that is why I was so happy to discover the Institute for Historical Research’s [Building and using databases for historical research][bud] course. You can sign up for a free module, or you can enroll in the full course for £99.

I’m not quite flush $150 at the moment, and so I will have to make do with reading the book, but I appreciate the resources being there.

For data visualization, see World of Data’s [Going to Data Visualization School][wod].

[bud]: http://www.history.ac.uk/research-training/courses/building-databases/
[wod]: http://worldofdata.org/2013/01/11/going-to-data-visualization-school/

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