Of course, I have a favorite. Though my tastes tends toward secularism with a dash of iconoclasm, there has always been a special place in my heart for the 18th century English hymn, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
I’ve had trouble keeping journals my entire life. Why would that get any easier as a genealogist? It doesn’t. As a result, the standard advice of keeping a research log often goes in one of my ears and out the other, especially when the suggestion is to record every website search I’ve done on a subject. Every single one? I would be spending more time recording than I would spend searching.
When I do a broad internet search, like Caroline Pointer describes on her post “How Do You Record Where You’ve Searched?” I get swept along rivers of tangents, new resources and anything else that suggests I might get an idea where to find what I’m looking for. Yes, I’ve got my favorite starting points, go-to websites, and techniques to get to something useful as quickly as possible. But at its core, I let the Internet search develop organically.
When doing internet research, I’m not terribly worried about looking at something twice because I often see something different, try a different search string, or tap into something that wasn’t available the last time around…such is the beauty of the Internet. Digitized sources are being added all the time. So what I didn’t find last time may be found next time.
Things are different when I have a tough nut to crack, a brick wall to break down, or am trying to do something specific for a client that hasn’t been solved online. In these instances, I create a research plan for the offline resources I need to check. It’s a spreadsheet I’ve developed on past projects, and saved as a template. I’ll include microfilm info, reference numbers, names, dates and any other notes about what I’m looking to find.
When I get to the Family History Library or whichever repository I can find those resources, I have a go to list of what to look for, even if I haven’t worked on the problem in a few months. As long as I have wi-fi, I only need to record the date in the spreadsheet, whether or not the search was successful (using the pre-formated “found it” column), and details about what I found or where the results led me. Voila! A research log is born.
As a client, do you prefer to get a list of all of the sources that were consulted even if unsuccessful? As a genealogist, do you keep up with a research log, even for Internet research?
Recently, Kathleen Brandt @a3genealogy tweeted:
“Social media experts: I am avid gardner & cook as well as genealogy. How do I keep my genealogy tweets followers separate from others?” [sic]
As one with 3 different Twitter handles, my answer needed to go far beyond 140 characters. Naturally, I decided this would be a better venue to discuss the question. Let’s start with:
Twitter is a two-way street. On one side of the street, you can create an account and send short outbound messages, or “tweets,” to whomever is “following” you. This is fundamentally micro-blogging — you blog in tiny 140 character bursts which Continue reading Multiple Twitter Accounts