Sunday, 17 September 2017

From Tsundoku to #PhDshelfie: An ongoing story

Pile of Books

Over the summer I had a number of conversations on Twitter with Sue Watling about books, PhDs, technology enhanced learning and the chasm which we still refer to as the digital divide. Twitter is my go to learning space and has become so as I have built a valued network of educators who also use this space to share their work and that of others. This leads to fascinating discussions. More often it opens my eyes to new concepts. I read a lot of things I may never have come across. I use the dictionary frequently. I realise the more I learn, the more there is to learn. At times it can feel intimidating when I don't understand new things BUT never for long as there is always someone I can go to to ask questions or at the very least be signposted to further reading that makes a topic more understandable. 

This post is in reply to Sue and other scholars who were sharing blog posts about their PhD book shelves and tweeting a link along with the hashtag #PhDshelfie. Sue invited me to contribute knowing I was in the process of starting my PhD journey. Do search for this hashtag as there are many valuable stories to read.


My study


I love books and love to buy second hand ones as well as new. The academic ones are stored in my study. (My girls have grown up and left home now so I have a study all to myself - luxury!). This has a wide bookshelf and two bookcases. They are all full. Having undertaken two Master's degrees and a PgCert in Learning and Teaching in Education, plus a a variety of projects over the years, I've accumulated quite a collection. Now embarking on a PhD, new books are being added, and those already on the shelves are being pulled out and added to a growing pile to delve into. 


I organise my books in 'collections' rather than a Dewey like system by author. These groupings have formed based on my teaching and research interests and include topics such as:
  • technology enhanced learning
  • open learning
  • creative learning 
  • scholarship of learning
  • research methods and study skills
  • communication and media 
  • networking and social network analysis
  • social media in business
  • social media and online presence 
  • social media in higher education


My book shelves are also scattered with mementos and photos of family and friends. One of my newest and most treasured is this hand crafted Twitter bird which my dear friend Chrissi Nerantzi gave me.  


As I start a new project (be this a course or some research) I tend to pull the books off the shelf and create piles. Once the project is finished I find them a place back on the shelf. Below is one of my newer piles of books I'm delving into. These of course compliment a raft of journal papers and blog posts accessed online. My #PhDshelfie is therefore in its infancy. It will evolve the more I read. Not captured will be a dictionary as I explore new words and concepts and try and make sense of them.   



Tsundoku


My Summer Twitter links and conversations also led me to a book called Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders. In the book she captures a collection of words and beautifully illustrates these along with an interpretation of their meaning. One particular word that caught my eye in this was the Japenese word Tsundoku. This is described as:
"A book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books"
It made me reflect on the books I buy as their journey to the bookshelf often takes a while. A new purchase may be read straight away, but to be honest this is the exception rather than the rule. I tend to identify a useful book cited by a writer and want to read more in the context of that quote. In the midst of a project the remainder of the book is likely to go unread. This book and others (both bought and borrowed) will become an ever growing pile. 



However from my 'tsundoku' collections (as there may be many) I can already see scope for future #PhDshelfie posts as I gather books to address different aspects of my PhD experience and the research I intend to undertake. It will be interesting to document how this evolves. 

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