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Stuart G

(38,672 posts)
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 01:52 AM Dec 2023

About doing research today, as compared with 50 and 60 years ago. Everything has changed completely!!

I did research in the 60s and 70s and taught research in high schools in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s....WHAT HAS CHANGED?

EVERYTHING.....WHAT IS MEANT BY THAT?....HERE IS THE TOTAL ANSWER......YOU USED TO HAVE TO GO A LIBRARY TO GET THE MOST HELP....NOW.....IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO WITH YOUR COMPUTER, AND KNOW HOW TO USE THE THING. (YES, "THE THING" IS THE COMPUTER). you don't have to go anywhere at all. It is all on. "THE COMPUTER AND THE INTERNET." ....YES, IT IS.

What is the story?....Here it is: At the Chicago Public Library where I used to go, (in the 60s, there were hundreds or perhaps thousands of video reals, and magazines to take out. That library had old newspapers and historical magazines with all kinds of information, both historical and current day information. (on video reals) & I would go downtown to use the library and look (in Chicago Main Downtown Library). old newspapers from the 20s 30s & 40s and earlier to see what was history and current events during those times.

At the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, (in the late 60s) where I went to college, the University Library had original newspapers in the library basement from the 1860s. If you could find those newspapers, you could look at them. .Real 1860 newspapers, the paper kinds, and I remember doing that, ... Original Newspapers, Real Originals

Now, you don't have to go anywhere but sit at the computer and look on the internet for information, any kind of information.
Of course, you don't get to see the original newspaper, but that is a small price to pay for sitting at the computer and not getting up to go anywhere at all.

YES, NOT GO ANYWHERE AT ALL... You can sit at the computer all day &..NOT GO TO A LIBRARY!!! .

Yes, you have to know the interactions and basics of the internet and typing, but now they teach that in high school like I did. I would meet the students at the library and show them how to use the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and walk the students around the library (a local library).. looking for important information...

I remember the evolution of the internet. It was slow and evolving over a long time.... I saw it all. Now on the internet you can see anything about SPORTS, HISTORY, WEALTH, INCOME, EXCITIMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, TV, OR .ANYTHING AT ALL..
IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO ON THE INTERNET AND, YOU WANT TO WATCH A FULL LENGTH MOVIE, IT'S THERE TOO , AND
OTHER STUFF IS ON THE INTERNET THAT WAS, NOT AVAILABLE AT THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY.. ...but...

(I won't go into the other stuff). ............. .

Why is this post necessary? It is necessary for me because times have changed. (a whole lot)....
ALSO...young people they think they know it all.......AND.... those young people don't have a clue. (according to Stu)

...........Times have changed according to Stu.........(but that is my perspective only) . .........



23 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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About doing research today, as compared with 50 and 60 years ago. Everything has changed completely!! (Original Post) Stuart G Dec 2023 OP
I support this! Just as long as they aren't using TikTok as a source! LeftInTX Dec 2023 #1
"Video reals"? reels? In the 60s? VHS wasn't available until 1976. . . nt Bernardo de La Paz Dec 2023 #2
There were Super 8 cartridges Inkey Dec 2023 #4
Microfilm *reels*. marybourg Dec 2023 #6
Yes, those Hekate Dec 2023 #7
There was nothing like Old Crank Dec 2023 #11
And the fiches were already an upgrade from handling the actual film. marybourg Dec 2023 #16
Right, with the right Words and Phrases, elleng Dec 2023 #3
And the tragedy is that cruising a library always led the person doing the hunting to stumble LuckyLib Dec 2023 #5
I remember an assignment from an English prof in 1972 that had me sitting on the floor in the stacks... Hekate Dec 2023 #9
Very, very NJCher Dec 2023 #13
I look at my 18 yo grandson just starting out and realize he'll never have that experience Hekate Dec 2023 #22
Not completely Nasruddin Dec 2023 #8
Yes there's a ton of stuff only in paper or other non-digital media. David__77 Dec 2023 #18
Yes nt XanaDUer2 Dec 2023 #23
Emory and GA Tech built a giant, climate controlled reposit Iris Dec 2023 #19
"... young people they think they know it all ..." live love laugh Dec 2023 #10
The early electronic card catalogues were bad in my opinion. Old Crank Dec 2023 #12
I'm a copy-editor, not a researcher, but the changes over my 30-odd years of work have been transformational Emrys Dec 2023 #14
My high school senior granddaughter hasn't a clue how to write a 'research' paper with sinkingfeeling Dec 2023 #15
I thought we would be able to see any newspaper from any city/town from any date it was ever fucking published by now. SoFlaBro Dec 2023 #17
Maybe I'm thick - but I really don't know what you're saying - is it snark? harumph Dec 2023 #20
Using the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature was a valuable skill. hunter Dec 2023 #21

Old Crank

(3,981 posts)
11. There was nothing like
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 04:51 AM
Dec 2023

Being hunched over a microfiche viewer looking a copies of documents. Sliding the piece of film around square by square.

It's a wonder I'm not blind.

LuckyLib

(6,837 posts)
5. And the tragedy is that cruising a library always led the person doing the hunting to stumble
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 02:37 AM
Dec 2023

upon unexpected treasures. While that happens of course with the internet, it doesn’t seem the same.

Hekate

(92,382 posts)
9. I remember an assignment from an English prof in 1972 that had me sitting on the floor in the stacks...
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 03:59 AM
Dec 2023

… pulling one book after another out to run my finger down the pages of the Indices of each book before putting it back. I finally found what I was assigned to about Joseph Conrad, but I found something else, too.

When the seminar next met and the young men were worshipfully going on about The Great Man, I said: “He was a real bastard to his wife.” Which they all denied in shock — I don’t think they even knew he had one of those. But there it was again and again in biographies and commentaries by scholars — how it was such a drag that his wife couldn’t take care of him as he deserved, or be a proper hostess to all his author buddies when they came over, because she had a wrecked knee and was in crippling pain. A hundred years later she could have had a total knee replacement by a competent orthopedic surgeon — , and she was desperate enough to try surgery, which made it worse. She tried to keep up, but was seen as pathetic rather than heroic — just a drag on the great artist.

I guess you had to be a woman to even notice those citations.

I love libraries, and I love real books. You can flip the pages back and forth and mark your trail with post-it notes. It is never the same with ebooks or the internet.

Hekate

(92,382 posts)
22. I look at my 18 yo grandson just starting out and realize he'll never have that experience
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 02:24 PM
Dec 2023

I used to scan dictionaries too. Why stop when there’s a whole page of words right there, some of them obs (obsolescent) , some referring back to other words…

Nasruddin

(763 posts)
8. Not completely
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 03:47 AM
Dec 2023

Only a smattering of things have been digitized. There are huge amounts of material that is ... well I hope it's still there.
One can hope that the indices, card catalogs, day books, minute books, & other things have been digitized, but I've found gaps there too.

There was a starry-eyed project at Google to scan and digitize every book. That got entangled with a massive copyright counterattack and I don't think it went anywhere near completion. I wonder what they did outside of North America / Britain, too.

A lot of things were microfilmed (I don't know how long that medium lasts).

There is a lot of unavailable video/movie material and audio material. Even a lot of digitized material like filmed lectures has a strong tendency to just disappear off the internet, and no one knows where it has gone. Remember Real audio / video? A lot of early recordings for internet made with that? Most of it is unfindable. I was talking with a host of a very long running podcast, we were both looking for a couple of her shows recorded 20+ years ago when it was strictly a radio show and not yet a podcast. She was trying to get them out of the archive of a local radio station .... I believe unsuccessfully. If I'd kept the cassette tapes ....

David__77

(23,813 posts)
18. Yes there's a ton of stuff only in paper or other non-digital media.
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 01:22 PM
Dec 2023

And among it tons of material of interest.

Iris

(15,793 posts)
19. Emory and GA Tech built a giant, climate controlled reposit
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 01:32 PM
Dec 2023

-org. where they store collections owned by both universities. They built it with the intention of archiving Print periodicals and scholarly journals indefinitely.

live love laugh

(13,725 posts)
10. "... young people they think they know it all ..."
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 04:20 AM
Dec 2023

That is not new. I’m willing to bet that elders who were around when you were growing up said the exact same thing.

Old Crank

(3,981 posts)
12. The early electronic card catalogues were bad in my opinion.
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 04:56 AM
Dec 2023

You could go to the card catalogue and do a proximity search and find more things. The early electronic ones didn't work that well.
They have improved.
At Stanford you can find everything in their collection and have it delivered to one of the libraries the next day from auxiliary storage if it isn't in the stacks.

Emrys

(7,522 posts)
14. I'm a copy-editor, not a researcher, but the changes over my 30-odd years of work have been transformational
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 10:36 AM
Dec 2023

For example, pre-internet, if we had a book where the author hadn't supplied full details for any references, we could either refer back to the author and hope they'd supply the information in the timescale we needed it, rely on what was at the time quite an extensive hard-copy library of our own (which obviously couldn't include journals in the vast variety of fields we worked in) or as a last resort phone the national reference library 40 miles away which held copies of all material copyrighted in the UK. The staff there were invariably very helpful and efficient, but it obviously added time to the job and was quite a chore.

Now, as long as you're careful in your searches and it isn't too obscure a field, a few clicks will usually quickly find the information and also identify any transcription errors in the title, authors' names etc.

I couldn't count how many rounds of author query resolving that's done away with over the years. Some books could have literally hundreds if the author was particularly sloppy.

sinkingfeeling

(51,784 posts)
15. My high school senior granddaughter hasn't a clue how to write a 'research' paper with
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 11:09 AM
Dec 2023

footnotes, extracted quotes, or bibliographies. I found her English teacher does not correct punctuation errors nor sentence structure.
Yes, times have changed.

SoFlaBro

(2,485 posts)
17. I thought we would be able to see any newspaper from any city/town from any date it was ever fucking published by now.
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 12:00 PM
Dec 2023

Now we can only get the largest publications and their archives. Others are available for $50 for a digital copy if available at all.

Much of history is just not internet available.

I thought we would be able to watch the broadcast day of a channel from any date since 1930. Now, we only get bits and fucking pieces.

harumph

(2,022 posts)
20. Maybe I'm thick - but I really don't know what you're saying - is it snark?
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 01:42 PM
Dec 2023

There's not much to the internet per se for doing (free) academic research. This is because
for best content - generated by people who are experts in their fields you
will need to subscribe to a datastore (e.g., Elsevier, Jstor) of one kind of another.
Online journal content is not free. Original sources such as the newspapers you speak of have
been digitized and now monetized and you can obtain the content - online - for - a -price. That said, many
libraries have subscriptions to said datastores. So, you can still get the best content at
a medium to large size metropolitan library. If I were doing research on a shoestring, I'd go
to such a library.

hunter

(38,575 posts)
21. Using the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature was a valuable skill.
Sat Dec 30, 2023, 01:43 PM
Dec 2023

It was the google of the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readers'_Guide_to_Periodical_Literature

I was taught how to navigate those volumes in the seventh grade.

For the most difficult years of my life my university library privileges were my lifeline. I maintained them even when I wasn't officially enrolled in any classes. Whenever the rest of my life was complete chaos libraries were a place of order and refuge.

One of the library irritations I recall from the days before scientific journals had electronic editions, was looking for some journal article only to discover it was in the bindery. Then you'd have to find a librarian who was willing to hunt down whatever article you were looking and get you a poor Xerox copy of it. This could sometimes take days.

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