Sabbatical is a go (Part 3)
In my quest to blog my sabbatical I'm now able to write the next chapter.
Yes, I realize people don't blog anymore. If I was hip I'd be tumblering or pintresting this process but alas, the Internet was its coolest in 2007 so that is where I'll hang out. Let's call it hipster artisanal web content creation.
Plan A pans out
On March 5 I recieved an email from the Graduate Program Director letting me know that the Department made the decision to admit me into the program and that this decision was sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final *official* acceptance into the program. I jumped the gun a tiny bit. It wasn't until March 11 that I got an official correspondence letting me know I was in, for real, this time. Once logged into the student self serve portal I was greated with this message:
I have been 'Admitted'. I uploaded most of my application forms on November 20th.
Expanding the box I discovered a more congratulatory message along with THE RADIOBUTTON OF DESTINY. RBOD for short. No kidding the process was all electronic. I heard from people in Grad Studies that this was the first year the application and adjudication process was totally electronic. In this spirit I'm going to attempt to complete all my work electronically as well. No paper if I can avoid it. That means typing notes in Markdown and capturing graphs and diagrams with something like a Boogie Board. Submit it all to a repository after the fact, or make an epub or something. That'll probably be another post in an of itself.
I really would of like a feather pen and vellum scroll signed in blood, but what are you gonna do
So I need to sign off on RBOD and interestingly enough provide another 'official' copy of my undergrad transcript. During the initial application process I just uploaded a scan of an official transcript. If things go to plan I'll take 2 course in Fall term, 2 in Winter Term and then be finished course work. At that time I'll begin work on my thesis with luck finishing a substantive portion of it before the end of the summer and the end of my Sabbatical. I have to complete the program within 5 years of starting it. I'm hoping to take comfortably less time then that.
So this will be my first ever thesis, and I'm both terrified and excited about it. In undergrad it wasn't required, and my LIS program was all coursework. (I went to UWO, so just assignments, no exams even) Considering the longest piece of prose I've written clocks in at 6,000 words I think I'm in for one heck of a shock. What is my thesis on? Well I'm not going to divulge anything as it will probably change a few times before completed. I akin to calling it the "Scotish Play" instead of "Macbeth". Oops, that is unless I just cursed myself by saying that. I'm pleased as punch however that the final product will eventually be in the Repository. My money will be squarely where my mouth is.
What was Plan B
My grand Plan B was to being work on something that I've been comtemplating for some time: An alternative to EZproxy. Looking at my past work it is easy to see that I have gotten some mileage from talking about EZproxy. It's part of my core responsibilility set here and I think it does an amazing job for what you need to do to set it up. As anyone in the Library tech field can attest to the product was acquired by OCLC and they decided to 'change pricing' a bit. Considering the platform is bascially a reverse proxy there are plenty of software utilities that can do the same type of thing, that are free as in beer and speech. Nginx, Node.js, Apache, Squid... I'm sure the list goes on. What really kills me is that an alternative crafted for Libraryland doesn't already exist yet. Well, before the OCLC stuff there was no real need for one. I'm elated to all end however that the much more talented folks on the CODE4LIB list have been have some serious conversations about this, and with that momentum I think we'll see something cooking soon.
So the idea was that my Sabbatical application had two scenarios in it. Plan A was to begin work on the Masters degree, and failing my acceptance in the program I would begin on Plan B which was working on an EZproxy replacement. I'm happy Plan A panned out because honestly Plan B was getting really scary. Don't get me wrong Plan A is still scary, but a different kind of more structured scary. More of, as long as I keep my nose in the books by the end of Sabbatical I'll have some concrete outputs. Fun trivia about me, I applied for some research funding to work on Plan B, that didn't work out. Just as well of course.
I don't know. I want to whallow in my crapulence about getting through the door for a bit. Once that is done my plan is to get to reading. I want to really get through some foundational material before September even rolls around. Time to fire up Zotero. I also have a meeting setup with my Advisor. So I'm trying my best to get ahead of this one. Plus start my Playoff/Grad School beard. I won't be happy with it until birds are nesting in it.
Yeah I know...