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Research- Some musings

Poster: "Mohajerin, Leila" <mohaj001@onyx.dcri.duke.edu>

Maybe I am just old fashion, but I love the touch of a book in my
hand...I love wandering the stacks...looking for one thing and finding
another.  Hey, I found my SCA name when I was looking for documentation
on footwear!  (I really was looking for pictures and started reading
legal cases in 15th c. Italy) I can spend hours in a library just going
off on tangents!  And there are so many books on every aspect of pre16th
c. life, law, and more.  I have lived all over this country, and seen
small and large libraries...never have I come up empty handed.  
There also are special interest libraries, rare book collections, and
special displays.  These are thing you can not experience in the same
way over electronic mediums.
There is also the question of validity.  True, books are limited in that
once they are printed, that's the way they are.  But, they have to go
through a process to be published in the first place.  If they profess
knowledge, they have to prove their source.  
On the other hand, the Web is only as truthful as those creating the
information care to be. There is no overseeing or approving body.  Often
pieces of information can be copied from one source and posted to
another, without the original authors approval, or the secondary's
knowledge on what the information is based and possibly taking it out of
One of the common draw backs with hard printed media, like books, maps,
magazines, is that they are hard to update. That is also the beauty of
them.  How many times is a story changed depending on the mind of the
teller?  That is also a point with history.  As someone said, "History
is written by the successors"  (or something to that effect---too bad I
don't have a quote book in front of me...and I tried to look it up on
the web to no avail.) That's why 1st generation information is the most
valuable.  It is flavored by the times in which it is written.

Of course, sometimes information just gets out of date.  That's why we
have a copywrite date on the inside of the book...so we can see when
that information was created.  We really don't have this on web pages,
or pieces of posted that are copied down the line. 
And some of the information out there is just plain wrong...based on
unbacked theory and "educated" guesses.  There are web pages of "here's
my garb" which are nice sewing projects, but completely based on
fantasy.  Or, they are sources such as the Braun and Schneider History
of Costume which reflect more of the period they were publishing in,
than the periods they were trying to depict! This has a link on the
Kingdom A&S links page, but many of the illustrations have a very strong
flavor of Victorianism...funny, that's when they were published!  And
although the front index page tells you this, many skip over that to get
to the pictures.

And there is so much out there! 
Anyone who gets most of their information from web surfing just doesn't
know what they are missing!

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