|photo posted on "Writing a Dissertation Literature Review - Tips to Consider"|
by Fidel Martin, photographer unknown
This summer Mocavo posted a great Genealogy Research Guide. It contained tips for planning a research trip as well as a helpful section on things to carry with you.
Reading that guide prompted me to consider the things I use on a research trip. One of my early posts mentioned things I had in the research tote I carried with me to libraries and other research centers. That was three years ago. Now it is time to take another look at what is in my tote today.
Sure, I still have my legal pad, pens and pencils, sticky notes, a bookmark, and blank note cards. Today's tote also has some additional items including:
- a jump drive - I'm finding that more and more libraries are allowing users to download resources, offsetting the cost of maintaining public access copiers. Other research locations have allowed me to e-mail pages from online resources to my e-mail address for this same reason.
- my smartphone - So it's not in my tote, just always with me, but it has become my primary camera for screen shots of pages. I try to make sure I capture the page number on a shot whenever possible, taking several shots of a page to get the page number when it is available. Once home, I can look at the pages, expanding each to make it readable, then delete or print as needed. My smartphone also allows me access to my Ancestry tree so I can quickly check on birth / death dates, names of spouses, and other specific information that I need in my research.
- my Flip-Pal - Nothing can beat my Flip-Pal for taking pictures of large pictures, maps, or documents. The stitching feature of Flip-Pal's software enables me to end up with a great reproduction.
I've also added a few new techniques which I use along with my research tote. Among them are:
- using Google Drive - My Research Log is on Google Drive so it is conveniently with me as long as I have internet access. Another Google Sheet is an ongoing list of newspaper articles I want to locate and read as well as a Sheet of books not available for interlibrary loan, only for on-site use. When I know I will not have internet access, I print out the necessary sheets to take with me in my tote.
- documenting title page info - When I take pictures of a resource, the very first photo is always of the title page and then a shot of the library's info (library location, call number, etc.). This way I know that the next 27 pictures are all from this book and where to find it should I need to use it again. This also provides information for a source in my genealogy software as well as a listing in my Research Log.
- better notetaking - Once I've taken the title page photo, I start taking brief notes. First I list the title, then start a list of the person, place, reason I take each successive shot. Just brief notes, p 37 - Landmark Baptist Church, p 412 - John Ragsdale's property, etc. This way if it is days (or weeks) later when I finally look back at those photos, I know why I took them in the first place and can more easily find the information they contain.
These are just a few changes I've made over the past three years. Who knows what new tools and techniques I will add to my research tote in the next three.