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Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
  My love hate relationship with scripting...
It's sort of beating your head against a wall - it feels so good when you stop! :)

I took programming in college, Pascal actually (I'm old), but just one semester (it's where I met my husband, but that's another story). I'm sucked in by thinking of problems the way you have to to get a computer to work with them... Programming poses really intriguing puzzles that are very attractive to my mind... But I remember the bad, too. I remember that I am not detail oriented and that the frustration of trying to get my program to compile and getting it submitted into the online drop box prior to the deadline felt like it was going to kill me. Literally, I remember my chest hurting and panicking because I couldn't find a typo... (it was the same or worse with Mathematica which I had to use for diff eq in the days before pull down menus and guis)

In the (mumbled) years since then, I've done a little javascript for the web, and of course some html... I built some search plug-ins... and I've become a little more fearless in trying new things (like R when the rest of the class is using STATA or SPSS).

So for my current independent study, when the professor who is supervising me suggested using a Perl script to grab the data from the web, I said sounds good... and here we go again. Turns out that Perl is actually much easier to understand than I expected so I've been customizing the scripts she's written to pull urls from files and write to files and for different types of blogs. Searching with regular expressions (I'm not a super hero there, yet, but my professor is)... And obsessively running and rerunning the program trying to make it do everything I need and not get bogged down in various situations... to the exclusion of other work. Sigh. Christina, drop the keyboard and back away slowly :)

But, on the other hand, I never expected to get this knowledge out of this independent study, so that's a real plus.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina's LIS Rant by Christina K. Pikas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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