Think of the PSW as an organizational system that you can use to develop expertise in a subject matter or to stay current in your knowledge in a particular area.
Think of the PSW as an organizational system that you can use
The PSW assignment includes 4 parts
The personal scholarly workflow assignment will be divided into 4 tasks with 4 journal reflections.
A personal scholarly workflow is YOUR personal process for seeking and using information to answer a research question. Think of the PSW as an organizational system that you can use to develop expertise in a subject matter or to stay current in your knowledge in a particular area. I hope you will think of this assignment as an opportunity to develop a lifelong habit, whether you go on to an academic career or not.
We all must develop systems to handle tasks of modern living. One example is filing and storing tax-related documents. We collect these documents throughout the year as we donate to charities, purchase tax-deductible items, and receive our W-2s in the mail from employers. You might make an agreement with yourself to print out all tax-related docs and store them in a folder, or you might tag them in your email.
You might keep a spreadsheet where you record this information, or you might have purchased software expressly for tax prep purposes. Whatever the case, preparing and filing your taxes get a lot easier when you know you’ve taken some steps within your life to create a process for how you will gather and keep track of all these different inputs. You’re less likely to procrastinate on filing and less likely to forget to declare details about your last year’s worth of financial transactions.
We live in an information society, and it’s likely you encounter information from every direction:
radio, podcasts, blog posts, web articles, emails, tweets, and videos–not to mention academic articles, textbooks, and other required and non-required reading you do for class. The personal scholarly workflow asks you to figure out your own personal process for dealing with incoming information. It asks you to become intentional about how you search for, store, and retrieve information that you’ve read, seen and heard, so that when the time comes you can remember what you learned and be able to both accurately use it (i.e., cite your sources and give others credit for their ideas) and also synthesize the information into your own unique ideas.
Your PSW should answer 4 basic questions:
1. Where do I find information?
2. How do I determine whether the information is valid and authoritative?
3. How do I store information?
4. How will I find this information again after I’ve read it? (days later, or even years later)
As you build it, your PSW will also start to answer additional questions, including:
How do I store information temporarily until I have time to read and reflect upon it?
What information do I read carefully versus just skim or scan?
How do I aggregate information from multiple sources?
How do I capture ideas I have and keep them separate but linked to information I’ve read?
Your PSW likely will require you to explore multiple digital tools, as well as develop a process to integrate digital and analog processes. For example, you might like reading on screen but taking notes on paper, or vice versa.
Developing a PSW is—appropriately—a process of experimentation. Try out a new digital tool. Figure out what types of things the software lets you do. For example, using Adobe Acrobat software to read a PDF lets you annotate the PDF in various ways: you can highlight, draw shapes, or add sticky notes. These functionalities and features are called affordances. Defining a PSW gives you the opportunity to decide whether those affordances are useful to you and whether they fit in with your preferred way of doing things. Remember, you’re developing your personal scholarly workflow: a workflow that works for you.
On completion of this assignment, you will have articulated a personal process for:
Searching and assessing primary source articles from Libraries databases
Note taking and annotating primary sources in both PDF and HTML formats
Retrieving information and citations
Storing and retrieving primary source information and notes
Separating original ideas from source material
References, resources, and suggested tools
Fourthly, Notability (annotation app)
Further, Libraries tutorials
PSW Journal 1
Do an internet search for personal scholarly workflows and read at least two people’s descriptions of their PSWs. Try search terms like:
Firstly, personal digital archiving
Secondly, workflows digital scholar
Thirdly, academic workflows
Fourthly, personal project management
Further, workflow management
1. Why do you think having a PSW is useful?
2. What commonalities and differences do you notice?
3. What elements do you think would be helpful to have in your own PSW?
PSW Journal 1: Defining a Personal Scholarly Workflow
The PSW assignments are graded out of a maximum of 10 points per journal (2 categories worth 5 points each).