Digital Scholarship Incubator Reflections: Abbie Levesque

This post is part of a series of reflections from 2017 Digital Scholarship Incubator participants.

Abbie Levesque: As I’ve completed a full pilot of my project and move towards refinement, I’m most interested in reflecting on where I go next.

XM<LGBT/> is a project most heavily invested in what it means to create and use a “queer” methodology when working with LGBTAQ texts. One of my biggest goals was to stay faithful to the voices of my interview participants, while still being able to demonstrate a qualitative methodology. I also wanted to bridge the worlds of DH and Rhetoric and Composition for myself, which have always been so disparate.

As of now, I have a schema in RELAXNG, a set of interviews encoded with XM<LGBT/>, a thesis written on the results of that coding, and some very shoddy XSLT for data analysis.

So what’s next?

First and foremost, on a technical level I really want to gain more knowledge of XSLT. What I did write was sloppy and hacked together. Certainly I’d like to have a little more elegance in my code, but more importantly, I want to be easily able to write code that does what I want, and note spend hours agonizing over, for instance, how to get all instances of a tag no matter where they are buried and no matter what attributes they held.

Secondly, I want to meditate on what queer methodologies mean and do, and whether that’s even a question that can really be answered. I also want to connect more strongly the concept of “OS” (like in QueerOS) to methodologies in research in both DH and Rhet/Comp. They feel like two sides of the same coin, or at least they share a piggy bank, so I’d like to be more able to articulate that.

A third, and perhaps simpler, step, would be to establish a GitHub – my issue thus far is that no data can be released due to the strict terms of my IRB, so all I would have is a rather short schema and my thesis, which I’d want some light revisions to before posting. Before doing that, however, I do want to consider the uses of posting my schema publicly, and what the benefits and detriments might be for the project.

I’m hoping to use the incubator to push the project forward since, with the completion of the initial research there’s a very real chance of stagnation. That’s what’s really next, I think – that it will either stagnate or evolve, and I want a chance to move forward and not to let it fall to the wayside.