C is for Consideration

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how we talk to people. And specifically, how we ask other people to take their time, and their energy, and their attention, and do stuff that helps us out. And this is relevant to research, of course, because no one knows everything, and so chances are, you too, someday in the future, will find yourself wanting to ask someone for help.

There’s all sorts of ways to frame this that make it sound like you have to be overwhelmingly nice to make that work. But really, it’s not about niceness. It’s about consideration. And I was thinking this week about group dynamics of groups I’ve been around in the past – Pagan and non-Pagan – and how many of these are so very important.

Are you aware of the scope of what you’re asking?

“Help me … Continue reading

C is for Cosmos

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

So, today I want to talk about context. Which basically means “how does this thing I’m doing fit with the me that’s doing it, and the where I’m doing it, and the why I care about it.”

One of my library professors referred to “collection” – as in ‘collection development, how we select stuff to be in the library’ – as the interrelationships between a given item, the other items in the library, and the people who use them. There are also more subtle interactions with the space (you may run out of room physically, but there are also ways in which you can keep more from a smaller collection in your head at a time, and form connections between different pieces more easily.)

Right. Let me stop and back up.

Resources are sort of like stars. We stand here, on earth, and … Continue reading

B is for Barrier

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

One of the things we kick around in professional discussions, sometimes, are barriers to research, to learning, to trying new things. And it’s a topic I admit I find fascinating, because some barriers are things that if you just know they’re there, they get a lot easier to deal with. And some are things that may have fairly simple fixes for many people. Others, of course, are hard to fix, or are very persistent, or are rooted in wide-scale assumptions about how the world works.

So, today, I want to talk about some barriers to research and why they’re there. Sometimes, just knowing what’s affecting us makes it easier to talk about solutions. Good thing, since due to length, this post is mostly about what the barriers are, not about how to work around them. I would be really interested, though, if anyone … Continue reading

A is for Answers

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

The world has relatively few absolute answers. Oh, yes, there are some things we’re pretty sure about. But compared to the things we don’t actually know for sure? They’re actually pretty tiny.

That’s why biology and chemistry and physics and astronomy are vibrant fields. That’s why we have history and sociology and anthropology and archaeology. That’s why we’re looking in the deepest oceans, and the furthest biomes, and the farthest reaches of the universe. And that’s why we have people who piece together the details of tiny beads, bits of pottery, and much more, to guess at all the things we don’t have writing about, and people who look at all the writing we have, and try to piece that together.

(And there are vast parts of the world we don’t have writing about. Even the places that wrote things down left out a … Continue reading