Philobiblon: Blog gems

Monday, February 21, 2005

Blog gems

I've been doing lots of blog browsing - checking up for my host role in Carnivalesque, so it counts as work, really!

I'm saving the historical gems for the carnival, but three other glittering posts to share:

1. A joke to be enjoyed by anyone who has ever had any contact with "consultants". (And in my UN development days I was one, at least part-time, which involved in one instance my advising a woman on a country about which I knew nothing, and she'd been doing a PhD in Sydney when I was in nappies - I'm afraid I didn't "value-add" much there, and probably picked out a few "dogs".)

2. Dr Charles muses on the potential medical risks of thongs. (I mean the underwear sort, not the rubber flip-flop sort, for Australian readers.)

3. The serious one. MGK was visiting a Microsoft project trying to realise Vannevar Bush's truly revolutionary post-WWII vision of information management and pointing out some potential hitches in the plans. I find this fascinating because it is something I have wanted ever ince the internet started, and indeed before.

I was one of those odd children who wanted to collect facts and figures and never to forget them - the wall above my desk when I was 11 or so was a sea of nails with folders of facts hang on them, and ever since I've been battling to keep track of everything I want to know. And as I said in my most recent thesis, it is what the internet really needs. (Search for Vannevar to get to the relevant bit.)

On that line, I was interested to read Clioweb's post on the "Scribe" notetaking programme, apparently specifically designed for historians, and a commenter's reference to Endnotes.

Some time soon, and yes I do mean pretty soon, I hope to create a lot more space in my life for historical research, and I will need to move on from my undergraduate-acquired method of research - photocopying everything that doesn't move and scribbling all over it, and filling books with Stick-it notes. Any comments or recommendations would be most welcome.


Blogger Jeremy Boggs said...

I can't say enough good things about Scribe. I've found it to be very efficient at taking and organizing notes on all types of sources, primary and secondary.

Some folks at CHNM are working on a plugin for Firefox that will link directly to Scribe, allowing users to transfer information from their browser to their Scribe database. Josh Greenburg at Epistemographer is one of the people working on it. See his brief mention of it.

Needless to say, I haven't been able to avoid photocopies or paper notes while in the archives, and I'm not necessarily sure I want to. I kinda like having the hard copies of primary sources. I spent some time over the summer scanning the documents and making PDF files to store on my computer, but I stilll keep the paper.

2/22/2005 02:54:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thanks. And I'm interested in your scanning the paper. I've been toying the idea of OCRing everything, for searchability, but not sure it would be worth it.

3/03/2005 01:39:00 am  

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