Then resize the plot preview pane and ggsave() again. And again. You’ll get three very different graphics as a result. Your font sizes are likely to be different from what you expect, if you drag those saved graphics into an MS Word or PowerPoint document, since the graphic will have to resize to fit the container (page, slide, or content area).
The solution is to be explicit about what your intended end-use is. I wrote a utility function to save a given graphic with proper dimensions and resolution for a number of use cases: for use in MS Word (U.S. Letter) documents at half- and full-page sizes, both portrait and landscape; and in both standard and widescreen slide formats. The code uses a default sent of dimensions and resolutions, but you can provide your own data.frame, if needed. U.S. users will recognize 8.5-2 as letter-width less 2 inches for standard 1 inch margins and 11-2 as letter-height less the same 2 inches for margins. Half page height is then (11-2)/2.
Now, your “10pt” axis labels will actually be 10pt when you place your graphics. Always use your graphics at 100% scale, otherwise all bets are off.
I often see a similar set of issues related to proper citation… some of them are quite understandable, while others perplex me in their consistency. When I cite myself, below, it’s not ego; it’s to demonstrate how I would typically expect to see a citation or reference appear. And the references are fictional.
Every in-text idea that isn’t yours must be cited. Failure to do so is theft of intellectual property, typically known as plagiarism.
Every in-text idea that’s taken directly from source material must be “wrapped in quotation marks and cited” (Doane, 2023).
If a quotation comes from a paged document (PDF, book, etc.), then “the quoted in-text citation should include a page number” (Doane, 2023 p.45).
In APA style, the punctuation for the sentence being cited goes AFTER the citation (Doane, 2023).
not punctuated like this. (Doane, 2023).
The label used in the in-text citation (Doane, 2023) must match the beginning of the alphabetized entry in the References section.
Doane, W. E. J. (2023). How to Cite to Ensure a Chain of Evidence to Support Your Claims. Penguin Press. (nb: this is fictional)
Every in-text citation must lead directly to an entry in your References section.
Your References Section
Every entry in your References section must match an in-text citation.
The References section must be arranged in alphabetical order by first author’s last name (or source, if no author).
Multiple references from the same author in the same year may need an added letter designation: (Doane, 2023a) for example, with the letter also added to the reference entries to help your reader disambiguate.
Doane, W. E. J. (2023a). How to Cite to Ensure a Chain of Evidence to Support Your Claims. Penguin Press. (nb: this is fictional)
Doane, W. E. J. (2023b). More Tips on How to Cite. Saratoga Press. (nb: this is fictional)
Institutional authors should be spelled out (unless it’s a very common abbreviation: IBM, NASA, etc.).
Never list institutional authors as if they were first and last names:
BAD: “Machines, I.B.”
GOOD: “IBM” or “International Business Machines”
Check how to cite an organization as the author in your citation manager of choice.
URLs should be minimal and reachable by your reader. Test their reachability using a different web browser.
Any referenced URLs should be reachable by a non-privileged user—someone who isn’t logged in. So, prefer links to sources that aren’t behind paywalls or behind required logins.
Beware of loooooooong URLs that seem to contain session IDs or other metadata that was specific to YOUR session visiting the page. Try to trim your URLs to the essentials, then test that they’re reachable. For example, these are the same URL… but the first has cruft specific to my visit to the Amazon website.
Prefer authoritative sources over secondary sources. If you’re referencing a NIST publication, link to the NIST.gov website address for it, not to a university class blog file or to a web article that links to it.
The purpose of citing is to draw a map for your reader from the material in the body of your document, to a reference, to the original source.
If you claim that the U.S. National Debt is only $31 dollars, then I need to know where you got that information, so that I can fact check you and point out that you left off “trillion”. (See https://www.usdebtclock.org/)
Your job as a writer is to make it as easy as possible for your reader to believe and be persuaded by your writing.
As such, accurate attribution and guiding your reader to the source material you rely upon for your claims is vital to the writing process.
As an analogy to Web technology, the concept of citations are the pre-electronic version of web links: the text in the body of your document links to a reference which in turn links to a source document. Each step in that chain of evidence needs to be immediately apparent and easy to follow.
PSA: You should absolutely setup or update your iOS Medical ID information and select your emergency contacts right this very minute.
This feature, found in the Health app on your iPhone or iPad, makes your medical information—medications, allergies, organ donor status— available to first responders and allows calls to your emergency contacts even when your device is locked.
Richard Hamming was a 20th century mathematician who contributed greatly to our understanding of information and information encodings. In this talk he shares his thoughts on how to be good at what you do. In short: work on the right problem, at the right time, and using the right methods. Were it so easy!
There are plentiful examples of spreadsheet applications leading analysts astray. Believe all the scary stories. Spreadsheets can silently damage your data, converting numbers to dates or dropping leading zeros from what should be fixed-length identifier (where did the U.S. Zip Code 01002 go?).
You will be asked to write. Think about your writing process carefully and be open to new ideas about how to approach it.
Writing is, at a minimum, a two-step process: you write, you edit. Writing and editing are distinct steps. Don’t try to edit your writing as you write your first draft; you’ll trip over your own creativity. Get your ideas down, then edit. Then get more ideas down and edit them.
Ideally, you would repeat the writing-editing process several dozen times to further refine your prose. After you’ve written and edited your work, you’ll need to share your draft with others, who will edit it and rewrite portions of it. Set your ego aside. Focus on improving the writing and, through that experience, your default writing style.
I help a few of dozen users install RStudio and learn R regularly. Whenever I need to install RStudio on a new machine, I have to think a bit about the configuration options I’ve tweaked. Invariably, I miss a checkbox that leaves me with slightly different RStudio behavior on each system. This post includes screenshots of my currently preferred standard RStudio configuration and custom keyboard shortcuts for RStudio 1.3, MacOS.
When you’re creating a visualization based on data, it often seems as if the possibilities are endless. Realistically, however, your best option is to think carefully about each of the variables with which you’re working—typically represented as the columns in a spreadsheet—and the limited number of aesthetic dimensions of your visualization—for each data point: the x position, the y position, possibly the z position, color, transparency, shape, and size.
Your goal is to map each aesthetic to one variable. If you’re using an aesthetic dimension in your graphic that isn’t tied to your variables, then why do you have that dimension? After all, it’s not communicating any information.
For the past few years, I’ve been working in an enterprise computing environment that has both striking similarities and dissimilarities from the open source freelance and the academic institutional environments. I’ve been frustrated a number of times by products that either haven’t thought about their enterprise users or, perhaps, don’t care.
I believe that I can be a better educator through reflection and active engagement. I believe that I can better serve my students and colleagues by being honest with them. I believe that reflection, engagement, and honesty can help other educators improve their praxis, should they feel so inclined.
When I’m commenting on electronic documents, I find it useful to be able to quickly generate a PDF of the marked-up version of the document to return to authors for review. I annotate the document using track changes and adding comments (using the INSERT > COMMENT feature… not by adding text to the body of the document!!!), then
Save as PDF…
to keep a copy for myself and to email (or post to a course management system) for the author to review.
Unfortunately, OSX doesn’t have a built-in keyboard shortcut for Save to PDF…, but it’s easy to add one.
[Note: you can’t Save to PDF… from an Adobe Acrobat print dialog box… it would bruise their ego]
Digital voice recorders can be a handy tool for dictation or recording research interviews. Here are some of the things I consider when looking for a recorder.
Make sure the recorder you choose has a USB port or (even better) a built-in plug. Some recorders do not allow you to transfer your recordings to your computer.
The default recording file format should be something that is easily playable on your computer’s already installed software, such as Quicktime, iTunes, or Windows Media Player. WAV and MP3 work well, but many recorders use WMA, a windows format that requires additional software on the Mac to playback.
You generally want dual (or quad) built-in MICs for stereo recording— invaluable in interview sessions. You can play your recordings with headphones and perceive directionality. Not all recorders record in stereo. Also, an external MIC jack, in case you ever want to use an external microphone (a lapel clipped mic or shotgun mic, e.g.)
A tripod mount screw is handy for setting up your recorder for standalone operation.
One of the first lessons any successful graduate student (and that should read “undergraduate student”) learns is to introduce themselves to the reference librarian who is responsible for their favorite subject areas. They can serve as guides to the existing collection, alert you to new acquisitions, and help you to acquire books that you may be interested in reading.
Know the LOC system, know which sections interest you, and know who is responsible for maintaining those sections at your institutions. You’ll make a librarian’s day when you introduce yourself as being “particularly interested in the QAs” or any other category.
I was recently asked to participate in a panel discussion related to careers in information and computing technologies by the University at Albany student chapter of ASIS&T. I’m making my slides from the talk as well as a PDF of my disciplines model available for anyone who may be interested.