I usually prefer researching through physical books – I just like to carry them around. But the Internet is a wonderful resource, especially if you don’t feel like trekking out to a library.
The Internet Public Library is always a great starting point. “The IPL is many things: 1) the first public library of and for the Internet community; 2) an experiment, trying to discover and promote the most effective roles and contributions of librarians to the Internet and vice versa; and 3) a group of highly talented, creative, strong-willed people, working hard.”
If you do want a physical book, for instance if you can’t find what you need online, WorldCat can find library books for you, both locally and internationally. “You can search for popular books, music CDs and videos – all of the physical items you’re used to getting from libraries. You can also discover many new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks. You may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren’t available to the public. Because WorldCat libraries serve diverse communities in dozens of countries, resources are available in many languages.”
This site is amazing: The David Rumsey Map Collection. “The David Rumsey Collection…focuses primarily on cartography of the Americas from the 18th and 19th centuries, but also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, globes, school geographies, books, maritime charts, and a variety of separate maps, including pocket, wall, children’s and manuscript.”
Eyewitness to History offers a vast selection of first-person accounts of historical events, some written, some audio. There’s also a selection of historical film clips. I often find this sort of information more useful than anything else when I’m looking for ideas for fiction.
Finally, the Historical Text Archive “publishes high quality articles, books, essays, documents, historical photos, and links, screened for content, for a broad range of historical subjects.” Their Links Page, organized by geographical area or topic, is incredibly helpful in locating further internet resources.
Have any suggestions for me?
Eliza Tucker’s post at Unusual Historicals on some of her favorite 19th and 20th century research websites was an inpiration for this post.
Synergy in Writing and Research.
One still has to remember NOT to take what you read online as gospel truth as some sources are very subjective, peppered with inaccuracies and bias. However, research online is fun. You just need to remember to do multiple verifications of dates/facts that you intend to use, as some reader somewhere will know the fact and bring your error crashing into focus. Plus when I read historicals I assume an author has done the homework (unless they state that they are tweaking history in their work for a better tale)so that I can safely store and use this information elsewhere.
oh, forgot to add some of your links are great resources :)Thanks.