Research in the Archives

Most of the last session I was doing some research for an oncoming project. Archival research is a bit different than library research, the type I used to do for my studies. The archives are mostly first-hand material, raw data that is not ready for direct consumption. In other words, you can write your material based on the data found in the archives, but before you’ll get to the things you need, you’ll dig through everything else that is vaguely related to it. It may be relevant or not really, but it will consume your time nonetheless. What is interesting is that generally, people have no idea how the things stand, cue requests that need to be completed in a few days, but they are better suited for dissertation and involved. Example:
A request comes for a one-page of notes on history of turtle washing. But even if we have materials that pertain to the history of turtle washing. what exactly should that be? Marjon’s alumni that were known to wash turtles? The history of Marjon turtle-washing clubs? The involvement of the community in turtle washing around Plymouth? There is a short article about it in the old magazines and a newspaper clipping from the 70s’. Here is a picture of turtle with a shiny shell, will that do?
A vague request for a few notes might turn to hours of digging through articles, documents, pictures, books, recordings and various other materials more or less related to the topic- a single request that will consume hours of research, not to mention preparing the notes themselves. And finally, instead of asking for notes, why not to come to the archives yourself and do the work yourself if the clean chelonians are so important to you?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under humour, inner workings, musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s