The LaTeX Newbie’s Guide to Using Overleaf for Conference Paper Submissions

Conference paper submissions in LaTeX are becoming increasingly popular in fields outside the technical disciplines (which have embraced them a long time ago already). Be that the Digital Humanities or historians wanting to contribute to events such as HistoCrypt, LaTeX templates for submission are getting more widely adopted. That’s why I wanted to dedicate this first post of 2022 to this important topic, so you are ready for LaTeX conference paper/abstract submissions in 2022! How to get started quickly and what to be aware of Find the template to use. The conference will have probably prepared a template you’re supposed to do. Since a principle behind TeX/LaTeX is the separation of form and content, you really only need to focus on writing your text. The layout will be provided by the conference organizers in said template. If this template isn’t on Overleaf yet, download it and upload it as a new project in the online LaTeX editor Overleaf. This will

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The 33 most effective productivity hacks I’ve come across in 10 years

Most productivity advice is essentially always the same. If you’re new to self-help, you will be familiar with the most important concepts after reading this post. It will sum up the best advice I have found reading a ton of productivity books over the past ten years. More importantly, I have tried out many of the concepts suggested and these are my top picks. Different productivity methods generally won’t be equally beneficial for everybody. There are some which work for you and some just don’t. But the central aspects always remain the same. So here they are. The motivation: The best of productivity advice without the “hustle culture” In the post The Right Mindset for Learning Challenging New Skills, I menioned how some blogposts (like Steve Pavlina’s Do It Now) have massively influenced me when I first got into personal development and productivity books. I’m not on board with the “hustle culture” associated with the productivity movement any longer but

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How to use Deliberate Practice to reach your Peak [Book Review]

Have you heard of the concept of “deliberate practice”? It’s a method for rapid skill aquisition through practicing in a certain way. The concept is discussed in detail in a highly recommened book: Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool (2016). So here it is. At last. The long promised book review and summary of the most important takeaways from Peak. Ever wonder why you’re not improving at skills despite using them every day? You’re not using deliberate practice is why. So what is deliberate practice anyway? […] deliberate practice [is a] a term coined by Ericsson to refer to the specific learning method used by experts to achieve superior performance in their fields, and mental representations. (Wikipedia entry on Peak) The book resulted from one of the top reserachers in the science of expertise, K. Anders Ericsson, cooperating with science communicator Robert Pool to make his research understandable to the masses. Malcom

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The Right Mindset for Learning Challenging New Skills

In today’s post, I wanted to pick up again on a topic I had adressed previously in The most important book to read if you want to learn Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Maths, Programming or LaTeX. The general gist was that when you want to learn a new skill which you perceive as challenging or difficult, maybe even anxiety-inducing (up to a degree that you’re seriously doubting your ability to learn it all), the most important thing to work on before doing anything else is changing your mindset. Today I will elaborate what your self-image and/or identity has to do with that and how you can use it to your advantage when learning daunting new skills. Do you enjoy posts on learning and skill building? Let me know! I feel that people are actually enjoying my posts on learning how to learn because they generate likes months after they have been posted. I guess there really isn’t enough material out

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How to maintain Twitter with little effort as an academic: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 5

Academic Twitter can be an important tool for networking, we get it. But I’ve talked to more and more colleagues who have given up on Twitter because they felt that they couldn’t make it work and also didn’t want to spend unreasonable amounts of time on it. I get that too. Apart from the Twitter experiment I did in November 2020 and times where there’s relevant stuff going on, I also want to minimize time spent on social media/Twitter as much as possible. But, to my great surprise, I realized my accounts are still growing even though I’m not doing much. That’s when I thought “Wait, this could be relevant for my readers” and decided to explain to you what I did. The goal: Setting your Twitter account up right for a relatively low-maintenance Twitter presence with some growth In my experience, many academics sign up for Twitter and then never get on Twitter again because they don’t know how

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Applying deliberate practice to online learning using a learning diary?

Today’s post is about using a learning diary to promote something like deliberate practice for (online) learning. Probably the biggest problem of my online teaching last year was not getting (soliciting?) enough feedback from my students. The only students who ended up ever really communicating with me were the few overachievers who had already had previous experience with the main learning goal of the class, i.e. SQL databases. At the very end of term, ergo after the semester and after I could make any changes, I received feedback from some students new to Digital Humanities that I had been going at a pace which was too fast for them. They were lacking certain information they needed from me to fully engage with the material. However, nobody told me as the class went along (and as you might imagine from knowing some of my teaching materials, I tend to provide very detailed info – so I assumed we were good in

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Navigating interdisciplinarity (as a DH scholar)

Today’s post is something at the interface of rant and rambling. While I love being interdisciplinary, it’s also quite the hassle at times which is why I guess most interdisciplinary scholars sometimes wished they weren’t doing interdisciplinary work. There are so many negative stereotypes, like… “You have it easier being interdisciplinary” vs it’s actually twice the work So do you really think that we have it easier? I hate how we always get this reproach that we’re taking the easy route. Can somebody please explain to me what’s “easy” about having to follow the state of the art in multiple fields at the same time? And then not even knowing where to get published because scholars from discipline A don’t understand half of your research and the same in the other direction. I tend to be somewhat “too historical” for the Digital Humanities but then waaaay to technical for the “normal Humanities”. I think being in the DH and doing

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The most important book to read if you want to learn Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Maths, Programming or LaTeX

Today I wanted to share a tiny book review of the book I claim to be the most important book you should read if you want to learn any technical topic but are unsure if you are up for it. The book I’m talking about is not Donald Knuth (although his books are highly recommended, especially if you’re a (La)TeX nerd!). It’s not even a computer book! I’m talking about: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (New York: Random House 2006). The fixed mindset versus the growth mindset This will be a short post because Dweck’s message is simple. There are two mindsets, the ‘fixed mindset’ and the ‘growth mindset’ and which one you have greatly impacts your success in learning and self-development. The ‘fixed mindset’ assumes your abilities and talents are fixed. Thus, you are proud of what you’re good at because you link it to your personality (“I’m a person who is good at…”). But

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The most important tip for confident LaTeX newbies: Don’t reinvent the wheel! (and try a Minimal Working Example instead)

Today I wanted to address a common issue I see in troubleshooting LaTeX errors, on StackOverflow and in personal questions. It usually stems from newbies who aren’t yet aware of all the functionality provided by standard packages and thus, try to reinvent the wheel when something doesn’t work the way they expect. Why reinventing the wheel is a problem In my experience, even from me helping people with packages that I’m not all that familiar with myself, it’s always best not to reinvent the wheel (even if you succeed, the result is likely sub-par unless you’re actually really good at what you’re doing). Ask yourself if the functionality you want is something that’s likely to be a common problem. Then maybe somebody has already solved it in a comprehensive way! That’s what packages are for and that’s why they’re (hopefully) maintained by people who have given the problem at hand a good bit of thought. It is very likely that

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Long-Term Twitter Strategizing: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 4

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. This part explains long-term Twitter Strategy. This involves a few elements which might not seem so important at first but will be to keep your Twitter presence active and at a steady growth rate, without having to constantly put in lots of effort. This includes scheduled Tweets and using analytics and reflection to determine how to best cater to the interests of your followers. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a

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Bio Engineering, Tweet Structure or How to lure your audience: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 3

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. This part explains how you can improve the rate you’re gaining followers at by immediately providing them with reliable information about what value you provide for them. The best and quickest way to achieve that is by a one-time improvement session for your bio! If that’s not a life hack 😉 As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. More Twitter Growth/Strategy advice 8) Set up your

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Retweet Bots and Hashtags: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 2

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. This part explains all you need to know on retweet bots and hashtags. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. More Twitter Growth/Strategy advice 4) Use the power of (retweet) bots. During the last year, I have played around with bots or partly-automating retweeting on some Twitter accounts (like the epigrammetry blog’s Twitter) using bots. I created a feminist bot, a #100DaysofDH challenge bot, a #digiclass

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Improve your Twitter Strategy: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 1

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. I will start with the basics and common advice you can find online in this first post and then add some more info and reflection on my personal experiment in the next one. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. This first one will start with the very Twitter basics and why you might want to start your own “Twitter Engagement” experiment. Am I back to

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Where can I *actually learn* programming? (as DH and otherwise)

To my great surprise, lots of people regularly ask me where I learned to program. I have lots of posts on the subject and even multiple categories on the blog concerning the topic but maybe they’re “too disguised” under obscure titles for willing learners to actually find them. So I decided to give you a short summary with the key takeaways of what I’ve written on the topic so far and the most important links – boths to my other detailled blogposts and also on the resoures I would recommend as of now. However, before the “short summary” of takeaways and suggestions for willing learners, let me start with a deep dive into the very personal side of the question “Where did you actually learn to program?”. Now where did I actually learn to code? A Disclaimer To answer the question “Where did I actually learn to program?”, we need to talk about my journey first. And.. Well, in order

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Easy and quick strategies to #scicomm your DH project

Your digital project is great, I’m sure of that – but does it even exist if nobody knows about it? Science communication is the answer to avoid this philosophical dilemma. In this short post, I wanted to share a list of quick-and-easy-to-implement ideas to add some science communication to your projects. This is just a short post to give you some ideas, not tutorials on how to do it. However, I am open to any tutorial requests you might have on the topics involved. As for the Twitter bot, there is a short post available already. So let’s get to it! Quick and easy strategies to #scicomm your DH project Create a better / thematic / facetted search interface. Maybe people aren’t using your data because the interface is not intuitive and they can’t find things or don’t know what to look for and where to look. This is the basic building block to build all the following things on.

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