Saturday, February 01, 2014

Off to the library

Needing inspiration and information for a new project, I did something that would be as alien to most modellers as chewing off their leg.

I went to the library.

Since 1996, the way to do research is to hit the Internet or better still, fire off an e-mail demanding someone do fact-finding for you. I remember well working for a horticultural research company and at least once a week, the general e-mail address would receive a missive along the lines of,

"I'm a student who has been told to write a dissertation on ??????? Please send me all the information you have on the subject."

Seriously, some were no longer than that. Needless to say they didn't go any further. If you couldn't be bothered to find out who to write to, you got the help desk guy. A guy who knew that passing this sort of thing on to someone who HAD A JOB would just generate grief, even if he had a clue who might be expert in the obscure branch of plant research you were writing about. Nor would said researchers be happy if I said that I wasn't getting their computers fixed because I was too busy trying to track someone down to write a dissertation for someone who preferred to spend the day in the Student Union rather than the library.

Anyway, now, people hit Google or if that is too much work, write on a forum demanding answers. The answer usually being along the lines of "Why don't you use Google you ??????".

I like the library. It has lots of books, most of which are up to date and on subjects my own substantial collection doesn't cover. There is even a descent selection of railway titles, now spread among three sections but still there. I wasn't after railway stuff this time but it's nice to know.

There are also comfy arm chairs for perusing the books you might wish to borrow. And if you really need Google, WiFi and computers.


Richard Slipper said...

Bit generous Phil. I would say that most people who do modelling do absolutely no research whatsoever.

A wise modeller would use a variety of sources to gather the information needed. Libraries being one, electronic resources being another.

I find the research stage so absorbing I sometimes get no model making done at all!


Iain Robinson said...

I agree, Phil. Libraries are wonderful places, as are county archives offices. Their staff are incredibly helpful and usually enthusiastic, unless you go on a Monday morning :-) Unlike using libraries, it is an expensive business, trawling the archives, copying data and getting permission to use it, probably one reason not many folk are keen do it!

Jackofallhobbies said...

I love the library and I will be going there later today. My local branch doesn't have to much on railways, but they have something. They also have one model railroad title, which saves me from subscribing to it.

Study and Write Blog said...

Ah, I agree! For me library is the best place to go to in the world. I'ts like visiting different locations in the globe when you are in the library.