Thursday, October 20, 2016

Love Letter to Zotero, and Other Helpful Graduation Tips

Meaghan recently completed her Ph.D. (FUCK YES SHE IS FREE SHE IS FREEEEEEEEEEEEEE) and Amy is working on her Masters, so we thought it was time to compile a list of things we are fantastically grateful for, even if these people/services/programs have no idea that we exist

Biodiversity Heritage Library. WE FUCKING LOVE YOU. 95% of the shit we have to cite comes from books and articles that we wouldn't have access to if you didn't do what you do. If we had money, we'd pour it down upon you. We don't, so every time we find what we look for we blow a beautiful air kiss in your general direction (usually our computer).

Interlibrary loan is magic. We request a book, or an article that the internet reports exists but doesn't know where, and the next fucking day ILL has gotten it back to us. We don't understand it, but bless you. You are the obscure article elves, and our research wouldn't work without you.

Josh Schimel - Meaghan clutches your book like a creepy creepy writing talisman. She loves your book so much that even though she had free access to it through her library throughout the course in which she used it, she bought a physical copy. That is no small praise, Meaghan is SUPER cheap and also A) hates reading (thanks comprehensive exams), and B) doesn't like having physical books clutter up her space.

Whoever invented coffee. We're not grateful enough to look it up, but it's pretty cool.

Similarly, whoever invented soy milk so that Meaghan can keep enjoying coffee despite her recent diagnosis as Lactose Intolerant for whom lactaid pills do not seem to work.

Meaghan's physical therapist, who has helped her with an old hip injury (she did the splits too fast once 10 years ago and it has fucked her up ever since). She can now sit for long periods again, useful for writing her dissertation.

Google. Well, google scholar mostly. But also Google - how else would we be able to find out things like "does stress make your hair fall out" and "is writing a dissertation really worth all this shit?"

Zotero, a fantastic and free citation software that can also store notes so you can basically make a running bibliography. If you're utter shit at correctly writing citations like Meaghan is, this will automatically set up your document in the correct formatting style for you. Also, you can save notes in the software about each article, which are searchable, so when you forget "which papers had tooth variation?" you can search for them and your angry, incomprehensible dissertation notes will guide you to the answer. Brilliant!


For those of you working on completing your dissertations and theses, we wish you the best of luck. As Meaghan's advisor repeatedly told her, remember that "this too, shall end... eventually."

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