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 Posted: Fri Apr 25th, 2008 05:17 pm
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ashbel
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I have been really impressed with the depth and the quality of research on Civil War topics from participants on this Board. I would be very interested in learning how people go about doing their research. 

Are there specific sites that are helpful? 

Does everyone start with Google or are there other search engines that do a better job for this type of research? 

Are there any "tricks of the trade" that would be helpful like using the Advanced Search functions?



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 Posted: Fri Apr 25th, 2008 08:04 pm
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ashbel
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Ed

I think I am referring more to Internet research.  It just seems that a new topic is raised and within a few hours someone has a relevant site or two and I have done a Google search and come up with nothing or a million hits which is the same thing.

Sounds like you are getting mentally ready for the Shiloh trip.  Have fun.

Jim



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 Posted: Fri Apr 25th, 2008 09:22 pm
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ashbel
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My Shiloh visit was last Saturday was a quick one as well.  (We had to return to Memphis for the last tour of the day at the Sun Record Studio!)

But I still enjoyed myself immensely.  I felt like I was visiting an old friend when we entered the Battlefield grounds.

You are fortunate to have a good group of friends to go with you on your Battlefield tours.  On Saturday there was one group of 5 men we saw several times during the day.  At every stop they were in some lively discussion about what happened, where and why.  They knew their stuff and seemed to be having a good time.  Probably the same with your friends..

 



 Posted: Fri Apr 25th, 2008 10:47 pm
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ole
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There are sites on just about anything that would interest you; you just have to develop a skill in asking the right questions (I don't have it.)

I look at every site anyone suggests. If it's informative, I'll bookmark it. If it's an article or a review, I'll download it to read later (wishful thinking).

ole



 Posted: Sat Apr 26th, 2008 12:54 am
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CleburneFan
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While I do look up a lot of Civil War material on the Internet, especially if I see something here at CWi that interests me, my main source of information is books. Also I really enjoy the Civil War magazines or perhaps you could call them journals.

There are some very interesting Civil War blogs to read regularly too. The main page of CWi has links to them. I have learned so much from them.

It is also very instructive to visit actual Civil War battle sites when possible.

I am strictly an amateur. My degree is in advertising. (Go figure!) I lived outside the US almost 35-years. When I returned to this country, I got bitten by the Civil War bug big time. Haven't "recovered" yet.

Last edited on Sat Apr 26th, 2008 12:55 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Sat Apr 26th, 2008 02:26 am
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booklover
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Jim,

While I might use Google for something I'm not really interested in (meaning I just want to skim the surface), most of my research comes from books or journal articles. While Google (and other sites) can be beneficial, there's nothing better than something which has been vetted and put through rigorous review. Of course that doesn't mean it's without faults or problems, but usually it's more reliable than what comes up on the net. A case in point is with Wikipedia. If someone mentions something I've never heard of, and I Google it, usually one of the top sites is Wikipedia. However, I've found so many mistakes on it that I rarely, if ever, go there.

Best
Rob



 Posted: Sat Apr 26th, 2008 11:04 am
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ashbel
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I would agree that the Internet is not the place to do serious research.  Unfortunately there are no editors for most of what is written.  However, it is often a good place to start - especially on subjects where as Rob says I do not have a real interest.  (Of course, I may not think I have a real interest.  Then someone mentions it and I have to find out more about it.)

One tool I have used for other business related research is http://www.whonu.com.  I just tried it by typing in "Lew Wallace Shiloh" and found tons of interesting information including pictures, scholarly articles and books, blogs, groups, etc..  Maybe I should use it more.

I guess doing good research is like any other skill.  You have to practice it and work at it to be proficient.



 Posted: Sat Apr 26th, 2008 01:52 pm
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Johan Steele
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It's ironic that I have twelve message boards & blogs that I frequent when I see a question that I don't know I have a tendency to type it into the search feature of about half and start looking at what pops up. On those boards I know who is a legit researcher and who isn't. I get far more relevant info than if I were to use google or some other search engine. And I usually learn a lot more in the process while wasting very little time... least that's what I tell the wife.

After several years I've learned to differentiate between the rhetoric spouters and settle on the real information instead of the propoganda. That more than anything was my reward.

THen I have a fairly extensive library and a superb library system that I think justifies it's existance between my wife & I.



 Posted: Sat Apr 26th, 2008 05:42 pm
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ashbel
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Johan

I never thought of searching the Boards.  Great idea.  Thanks for the tip.



 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 07:23 am
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cklarson
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Folks,

Just a few tips all can use:

1) One of the world's best bibliographies, available to all, is the catalogue of the NY Public Library. It's one of the top libraries in the world. Go to: http://www.nypl.org > CATNYP catalogue and keyword search by topic or author to find sources. Also ask your local library--they may have online databases that members can get into remotely using your library card number.

2) If you're doing serious research, you can order books by inter-library loan, even internationally although it'll cost a little, like $10 from the UK. E.g., for my WWII work, my instinct told me women were in the Alaskan Territorial Guard, and I was able to order a Master's thesis from UFairbanks in AK--there found a rifle-toting, dog-sledding female ATG member--looked for Japanese invaders and balloon bombs while on the mail run between towns.

3) The Official Records of the Confed and Union Armies are online at the website of Cornell Univ. although keyword searching might be difficult as there would be a lot of entries for common generals, say.

4) I have not used this extensively, but I've read Google Books is going great guns--they've scanned thousands of public domain books already. Found an obscure monograph on the Ala/Kearsarge duel online as a PDF doc from UCA.

CKL





 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 12:28 pm
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Michael C. Hardy
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Ashbel

Even though I have a very healthy library, I use the internet a lot for research, especially sites like Google books, netlibrary, newspaperarchive, Documenting the American South, Making of America, and Heritage Quest. There are tens of thousands of digitized books on these different sites (some free, some I pay for) that allow me access to books that are in institutions to far away to visit. Do I still go out and do traditional research, or use inter-library loan? Yes. But often, researching in the above sites puts me in touch with books that I did not even know existed. Every site I listed is searchable, another added bonus.

Regards,

Michael

http://www.michaelchardy.com



 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 03:42 pm
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ashbel
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ck and Michael

Thanks for the excellent information.  This is exactly what I was hoping to receive.  this should be useful for all.

Ashbel



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