The other day, my son asked me why Friday the thirteenth was considered an unlucky day. Finding the answer was as simple as sitting down at my computer and clickety-clacking on the keyboard.
I don’t know about you, but I’m old enough to remember life before the internet. I remember, upon being assigned to write a report, pedaling my bike up to the library to do the necessary research. In those days, asking the librarian to help you locate a book was tantamount to asking for a particularly long and exasperated lecture on how to use the card catalogue for yourself. There was no efficient clickety-clack of keys to provide almost instantaneous book location information, much less today’s rows of multiple terminals which allow patrons to find the information for themselves. So, those of us on a quest for information would head straight to the card catalogue, pull open its tiny drawers, and thumb through yellowing pieces of cardboard to get a hint on where in the library we might find information on pilgrims, potatoes, General Eisenhower, etc. Armed with a location code as long and as potentially confusing as modern-day GPS coordinates, it was off to the indicated shelves.
Kids today will never know the feeling of hopeful anticipation we (ahem) older folks had as we found the right row of shelves and started down it, glancing at the numbers on the book spines as we endeavored to locate the section where our book would, hopefully, be found. Then the real hunt began. All the books in the same subject matter were grouped together, and often had numbers very similar to one another. Though they were supposed to be standing on the shelves in number order, they were often plucked from their correct locations, browsed, then shoved back into a random spot on the shelf, resulting in much squinting and chin tapping as one tried to locate a particular title. Then it was possible that after all your effort, the book you wanted had already been checked out by another patron.
Today on the podcast, we talk about research in these modern times. With the advent of the internet, we have a world of information available at our fingertips. With so much false information mixed in with the good stuff, how does a writer find reliable sources of information online? Or, is it perhaps wiser to eschew online sources in favor of good old fashioned paper – reference books or county records or journals? What are some strategies or preferred methodologies to follow when doing research for writing? What are some “tools of the trade?” Come join the conversation as we answer these questions and more.
See you there,