So I sat down with a brand new Moleskine notebook (a birthday present no less), a pen, and some coloured markers from my art undergrad days, and set about creating a first, crude visualisation of my #100wikidays so far. I have to admit the results surprised me a little. I decided to colour code the entries, as I already have a list of articles I’ve written, the idea here was to see the content in a different light.
Carlow inspired entries: Red
Irish people involved in STEM or those who influenced Irish STEM: Blue
National Monuments and listed structures: Yellow
Although I was perfectly aware that I had focused on doing a number of museum articles I did at the beginning, seeing a great river of green through my entries really enforced just how heavily weighted by articles were towards that. I was surprised at just how few articles (proportionality) I had written on Carlow topics, as I had perceived a much stronger bias in my topic selection that was actually being played out. The same could be said for those in STEM, and the fact that I had only written one article on a National Monument was very surprising. Doing this has definitely changed my approach to my list, and made me think about where I am focusing, and my own goals for certain topic coverage. Makes me wonder that seeing as I have five broad areas, should I split the list into lots of 20, to give each area equal attention. That feels very false to me though, as if it strips away an element of the organic, forcing myself onto a writing path that is not emerging naturally. However, the effect of this tracking is obvious in the choices that I have made since then.
Although I broadly wanted to focus on Irish content and figures, I have allowed myself to incorporate non-Irish people who have had a distinct effect on an element of Irish culture in some way. Alfred E. Child definitely falls into this category. Given that I have written about many of his students, such as Catherine O’Brien, Ethel Rhind, and Margaret Clarke, it isn’t a huge leap to attend to his article. He was appearing as a read link in my other writing, and given the attention that I was giving to the stained glass of Ireland in the early 20th-century, it would be a little incongruous to not write about him. Again, although he has been written about, in such a small and exclusive research area, laying hands on books and other materials can be challenging. I find only relying on online resources is almost inevitable with this challenge, purely due to time restraints, it still rankles me a little at times. I do have to actively remind myself, that I am not studying the topics at hand, but what it means to be a contributing editor. It is a line that can be very hard to maintain at times, as I get so fascinated with a particular area that drawing back from it can be frustrating.
The effect of my visualisation can be distinctly seen in the next few articles, as I shifted towards historical structures with Gaulstown Portal Tomb, Vinegar Hill Windmill, and Elphin Windmill. National Monuments and protected structures are a little harder to write about, as unless you have access to a large archaeological or architectural library and the time to comb through said library, finding resources that go beyond cursory tourist information is a real challenge. Although some of these are verging on stubs, I do hope that their presence will inspire more work to be done on them, which is the ultimate idea of stubs to work as a placeholder until a motivated editor comes along to contribute to it. Although I find it unsatisfying to write these articles, again I have to draw a line in the research sand for myself and refrain from spending a day in a library ferreting out more sources of information. I may reserve some time to do that later on, if I can, there is a constant need to remind myself of my own priorities and what I hope to gain from this experience. There is an element of wanting to step up my game, as it were, and aim for a good rated article -but the likelihood of writing one of those in a day is slim to nil, and I would be doing myself no favours setting unrealistic goals that will ultimately lead to more annoyance. It’s a bit of a dance with myself it turns out!