Research is a method of collecting qualitative and quantitative data, verifying it, and determining conclusions, while searching is somewhat an art form, learning about search engines and taxonomies, and being able to use them successfully to find data and answers. This piece is about finding resources to help you use the Internet more effectively and efficiently.
Paul Jackson Author Archive
Mr. Jackson is an Information Specialist; a retired Special Librarian of Academic, Public, Corporate, Church and Prison libraries. He initiated meetings in 1965 resulting in the founding of the national Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) in 1966. He has taught Research to PhD candidates, and published a wide variety of articles; is a bibliographer, essayist, contributing journal editor, reviewer of recordings and books. He is both publisher and self-publisher. He is currently Editor of Plateau Area Writers Association's Quarterly and anthology series, Contrasts; a timpanist and percussionist for several musical ensembles. His most recent book, Letters from Paul, is a compilation of three years of monthly encouragement essay letters written as a deacon to his parish members.
Whether rebranding, re-organizing, or answering the public’s questions, we have to talk about semantics. If we are asking a question, the way we ask can disrupt the course of inquiry…if we ask the wrong question.
Last month I wrote about finding answers. This is a follow-up on the process. Sometimes the process takes us to strange worlds like finding the answer to the riddle, “Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?” Many of the experts we rely on use their memories. Now I know at my age, my memory is not completely coherent, especially with family time-lines, i.e., what happened when with whom. On the other hand, I’ve known theater buffs who could tell you what review showed up in which issue of Variety.
The most frequent request librarians get at the reference desk (other than directions to the bathroom) is a request for an answer–not necessarily a resource. Over the years of working with various organizations, businesses, and libraries, it seems we have great access to all sorts of information. We collect it, we catalog it, we index it, we sort it, we file it, we shelve it, and we make it available with computers. The government does a lot of that too, and they even give rewards, i.e., grants to those who will collect the information and make it available either as booklets, seminars, workshops, videos, and digitally online.
Many new and start-up libraries are looking for ways to acquire books cheaply because of their small budgets. In 1992, I wrote an article for Against the Grain about finding resources to build collections. The ideas in that article are still useful and it can be downloaded from the Purdue University site here.