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There are some things that are great in theory. In practice, though…

It’s actually cool, too. I just need to learn how to use it.

Admittedly, I mostly hate myself for doing the “learning-by-being-frustrated” or “learning-by-running-head-first-into-problems”-approach. It seems not to be very wise to “simply start” using git. It is a *much better* idea to get to know some basic information first.

“What is git? And why do you keep using it if it’s so difficult?” you may ask.

It’s not that difficult, really. Git is a version-control system, which keeps track of things I change in documents. By saving the changes it enables me to jump back to older versions of my document if I destroyed things. (Happens. Rarely. Occasionally, maybe…)

Also, using git and GitHub , which stores the git-changes in an online repository, makes it easier for me to collaborate with loads of other people. Sometimes problems arise if too many people work on a google-doc at the same time and things get overwritten. If people work on the same document on a shared server at the same time they may end up with loads of documents, because there were conflicts in saving the document again. GitHub is a great way to overcome these problems.

A third point is the accessibility of code / data for other people. On GitHub I can either use a private repository, which nobody will be able to see or a public one. Public ones are great for sharing the things I’ve written digitally and accessible for everyone. Other people may have ideas on how to improve things I did and they are able to do so easily and then I can incorporate their changes if I want. Or not.

Because there is a lot of good information about git and GitHub out there, I won’t give a new introduction, but simply gather some links that might be helpful to others… and future-me. Most of those will be concerned with git and Rstudio, because that’s what I mostly use it for. Also, it may well grow over time, when I run into new problems that need solving.

(You may notice, that these links are giving very basic advice. Yes. This means I’ve had very simple problems so far, which only happened because I just went for it instead of having a look at a manual first. *head hits table* …)

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About the author

My name is Sophie, I am a prehistoric archaeologist and currently research assistant at the Cologne Digital Archaeology Lab (CoDArchLab) of the Archaeological Institute at the Univerisity of Cologne, Germany. I teach statistics for archaeologists and work on new methods in settlement archaeology (GIS, geostatistics and stuff).

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