Blogging Sabbatical

I began blogging six years ago this month, in December 2003. Since then, I’ve published over 2,000 blogposts, most of them excerpts from books I was reading. But the number of posts has declined each year—from over 550 in 2004 to under 200 in 2009—as I’ve become involved in a greater variety of online publishing hobbies.

In the spring of 2006, I bought my first digital camera (a little point-and-shoot Olympus), took it with me on a 4-month sabbatical spell in Japan, and soon began building a portfolio of documentary—rather than artistic—photos on Flickr, some of them scans of old photos from my earlier travels. This month I got my third digital camera (a Canon Powershot) and my Flickr portfolio numbers almost 2,500 images. This year I had to replace my trusty old HP flatbed scanner, orphaned by Vista, with a new Canon that I am quite happy with. (A local middle school is now making use of my orphaned scanner and ancient workhorse of a printer—an HP 5MP Laserjet.)

Early in 2009, I discovered major photographic lacunae that I could easily fill in Wikipedia’s coverage of sites on the National Register of Historic Places in Hawai‘i and began a campaign to photograph as many as I could and upload them to Wikimedia Commons, then add the images to the articles. Now I’m rather heavily involved in WikiProject Hawaii and WikiProject NRHP, both as a photographer and an writer/editor.

These online documentation projects have convinced me to put this blog on the back burner in 2010 in order to concentrate on a long-term language documentation project I need to finish: a comprehensive grammatical description of Numbami, the once almost entirely undocumented language whose speakers were my gracious hosts during fieldwork in Papua New Guinea in 1976. I have completed and published many bits and pieces about the language over the intervening years but need to put them all together and fill in many gaps. Unlike other projects described above, it’s more a duty than a hobby—a daunting one, but not unpleasant to contemplate.

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3 Comments

Filed under blogging, language, Papua New Guinea, scholarship

3 responses to “Blogging Sabbatical

  1. Well, damn! I am saddened at the temporary loss of a daily pleasure, but how can I complain when the time will be spent on language documentation, a goal of which I thoroughly approve? All I can say is: come back as soon as you can!

  2. I plan to post about once a week, but will try not to exceed that.

  3. JCass

    Enjoy your break. You’ve deserved it. As I’ve said before, this is one of the very few “political” blogs I read any more, because it’s informative rather than polemical. Readers can actually learn something about the world from your posts. This is true of only about 0.01 % of the blogosphere (to be highly optimistic) so it’s a rare treat. Of course, it’s hard work to maintain such a site and you’ve thoroughly earned your sabbatical. Happy New Year!

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