Sebastian and I have been working on a collection of Teaching Open Source (TOS) faculty stories since last spring; I'll probably write on that over the next few weeks as we get things together for our FIE presentation. It's taking a while because (1) we're busy, (2) we're figuring out a lot of copyright/IRB stuff for the first time, and (3) honestly, it's sort of our first "real" empirical-data research project, so the clumsy newbie-fingerprints are painfully obvious All Over The Dang Thing.

One of the things I love about my research is that it's possible to do it on a shoestring. No scanning electron microscope needed (though those are awesome), no supercomputer requirements (...yet). All our equipment has been dug out from backpacks and drawers; I recorded the first round of interviews with an aging digital camera that dates back to my junior year of undergrad. If you poke it the wrong way, the battery goes flying out of its compartment -- this is the same battery that takes a night to juice up and then peters out within a 2-hour filming session. When my camera really gives up the ghost during a session, I record interviews on my cell phone, which is... suboptimal. Thankfully, Sebastian has a new digital camera now. If he brings it to Seattle, maybe we'll even be able to capture TWO interviews on the same day for the first time! We're doing almost everything else with Free Software.

I say "almost" everything else, because strictly speaking, a transcription service is not FOSS. We debated this last spring break, but I finally declared that it would be Really Dumb to have audio files transcribed by a deaf researcher (me) or a researcher trying to reverse typing-induced RSI (him) and that if we were going to spend money on this project, IT WOULD BE ON THIS. *stamps little foot*

So we've spent $218.98 on transcription. Add $10 for a domain name and $63 for webhosting for the months we've been doing the project, and we're up to $291.98, which is not so bad. With additional transcription, maybe that'll jump to $600 or $800; after a certain point I want to find a place to host the oral history library of (open-licensed, fully-identifiable) transcripts at a place we don't need to pay for, because the idea is that more TOS professors will be able to contribute once we get things set up. (And I know, I know, it's hard to contribute when you don't know what it is because it's not online yet. It nags at me too! We're working on this! Copyright is, um... fun!)

Mostly I wanted to note spending on this project so far; this tally doesn't count the cost of going to Seattle to present it in a few weeks, nor does it include the hours and hours we've spent on it. I'm trying to get a grasp on How Much Research Costs, at least the type of research that I want to do. Someday I will be able to make reasonable estimates; right now I'm going for somewhat-accurate-tracking.

C'mon, Mel. More work to do. Go, go, go.