I have around 70 diaries and these are an ongoing project for exploration – see The Diary for more info.
Digitising them creates the opportunity for some creative hacks, such as running the text through a data extraction algorithm to create new outputs – some of which are quite poetic. Using code has also allowed me to extract all the swear words from 10,000 words of travel emails. That was fun!
I'm also fascinated by diaries generally and visited The Great Diary Project in London to read some of the submitted diaries from the 1980s. I've bequeathed my own diaries to this project – better than family and friends reading them! The problem is, most people's handwriting is pretty awful and it makes reading and deciphering hard work.
There is also some part of me that thinks there might be a memoir in my own travel diaries somewhere, although I'm not sure I have the emotional distance, the staying power or the skill to write them up as such. Anonymous edits and extractions are far more likely.
For all these reasons, I put digitising a travel diary into my list of goals for this year.
I'm happy to say that the first one is done – 26,000 words all about criss-crossing India, west to east and south to north, for four months in 1996/7. I've already started extracting and playing with the text.
In all there are around three years' worth of travel diaries, so it's an epic challenge, of which this is just the first microchallenge.
For anyone out there thinking of doing anything that involves digital transcription, I highly recommend using speech recognition software or just the dictation facilities on your phone or computer. It's been a lifesaver and given me a few laughs with misheard typos. I'll stick them in another post (and here it is!).
Okay, so I've tried ScoopIt, Bundlr and Storify but not Pinterest. Let's see how the curation element of new RebelMouse works, which is similar to Pinterest. So here's my social media splash page, which pulls in my blog feeds, selected tweets and clipped content, and which I've customised. It looks ok and took about 30 minutes to set up and sort, but there were some glitches and hitches…
Kings Cross last Saturday – and I delivered my first-ever workshop. While the rest of the UK was firing up the barbecue to make the most of a beautiful sunny afternoon, seven sub-editors were arriving at the very cool Centre for Creative Collaboration to learn some digital editing skills. (C4CC is a brilliant neutral space that exists to foster collaborations between and help improve outcomes for freelance creatives. If you have a creative/collaborative project that fits the bill, I highly recommend getting in touch with them and putting in a proposal.)
My workshop project arose partly because I'd already been approached by a friend whose work was drying up. She asked if she could come to Birmingham for a day and just watch what I did as a web editor. A quick ask around some other friends told me she wasn't the only one who would be up for learning some online publishing skills.
But the idea was further kicked into life after the NME posted a sub-editing job at a below-industry-standard rate on the London Freelance sub-editors forum Subs UK. There was much consternation on the group messageboard with suggestions of setting a minimum rate for those seeking access to Subs UK talent, as well as calls to boycott the job offer. Continue reading "Helping print sub-editors go digital"
Photo School is a monthly 'photo club', that's also designed to combine learning with fun. It is based in Birmingham and the idea is to learn more about your camera, the art of photography and how to improve your picture-taking skills both in and out of the classroom. It is all but sold out for the launch session this Sunday but there is more to come in March so book ahead to reserve your spot – here's the flyer: Continue reading "Photo School, Friday School and Social Media Group Therapy"
Just back from a week in the centre of France in a little known area called the Cantal. It may be "one of the most sparsely populated and geographically isolated French departments", according to Wikipedia, but it does have one big claim in that the region encompasses Europe's largest volcano. Snowshoeing a sleeping volcano seemed an irresistible storyline. Continue reading "Cantal press trip blogged – and a travel request"