A ream of paper

  • Posted on: 15 July 2015
  • By: quinn
Book selection

At 9:45 PM yesterday, I finished Drupal for Humanists. It came in at 104,658 words, 91 images. The addition of even a brief glossary (requested at DHSI) necessitated even more extensive cutting; ThemeKey and Views Bulk Operations had to go, along with configuring multi-author nodes and showing the number of nodes associated with a taxonomy term. All told, there's now 9,777 words of supplementary material that will be coming to the site soon.

The double-spaced version requested by the publisher takes up 459 pages-- just 41 pages shy of a full ream of paper.

The earliest cloud-stored note or document I can find from this project dates to April 2, 2011. My first serious attempt to write it was in July 2012, but the monotony of technical writing pushed it to the back burner (behind pretty much anything else) until I was recruited in 2013 to teach Drupal at DHSI. Traces of prose written for the DHSI 2014 course pack-- largely banged out, blearily, over the course of countless trips to the office lactation room right after returning to work from a maternity work-from-home period-- first came together in early 2014. (The baby in question is now walking, running, and using words to inform me of things like "More book" and "I need cracker.") However, almost all of the book was written between early December 2014 and yesterday, a period when it largely dominated my attention between 6:30 PM (toddler bedtime) and when I was too tired to keep writing.

As incredible as it feels to have it "done" (pending peer review, of course), the book itself is a new laundry list of writing. There were many more useful things I wanted to include, but the length is already pushing (or perhaps beyond) the sweet spot of affordable production costs. "See the Drupal for Humanists site for [more about whatever]" appears 39 times in the book, meaning at least 39 sections still need to be written, or reworked from content extracted from the final version of the book. I'd also like to put together a way for people who have built digital humanities Drupal sites to describe them in a way that's useful for others, as well as provide additional case studies, recipes, and examples. (Community contributions are very much welcome!)

For the next few days, though, I'm going to savor having sent the manuscript off to Texas A&M Press, and catch up on everything else.