Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Joys and Tribulations of Research

Have you ever wondered what kind of trees grew in England
in the 13th century? Well, I have.

Have you ever wondered what Christ Church college looked like
in the 16th century? Well, I did.

What about chickens, or cows, or pigs? Did they raise them
in England in the 18th century?

And more important, where on earth do you find the answers?

I used to spend hours in a local library, or have the librarian
at the school where I taught hunting for old books with a page or
two of necessary information. I often went to the library
downtown, where you could copy a page or two on the copy machine
for a dime a page, with a hand full of coins. Hours and hours
were spent hunting for one or two facts needed to confirm
what I suspected.

Thanks be to Technology. Today, I type in a question, or key words
on my computer and wait for the selected search site to find the
answer. I don't always get the answer I want and I need to search
some more, but the need for a pocket full of dimes no longer exists.
I don't have to use a copy machine because I can print the page or
two right from my desk. And the time difference is unbelievable.

Today, I thank the stars there are so many sources available with
the information I need. I also don't use just one source for facts.
If I can't verify the information with several sites, I won't use it.

Example - I needed the answer to the question of what trees grew in a
certain region of England during the time of Edward the first. I
found four sites that discussed the forests of England from the
11th century on. I wanted to know if pine trees grew in my area.
Nope! Beech, poplar, walnut, even maple (which surprised me) but
no evergreens.

If you have a need to do extensive research, be grateful you don't
have to spend the hours I did, searching for tidbit of info.
After all, in my books, the way it was during the time my hero
and heroine lived needs to be correct or as close to the time
period as I can find.

Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch

1 comment:

sterlingwriter said...

Allison, I've have fairly good luck at The search feature isn't the best, but it's great to come across a personal account written at the time you're researching.