a good day

30Aug07

Today was a good day of research. I’m doing preliminary research right now in just one of the archives, which to me means that I am trying to get a sense of how much there is that I have to work through as well as seeing what some of the issues are for my specific project and time period. At first, I thought I could get through several years worth of correspondence, so the first thing that I did was just pick one year and try to get through the volumes of correspondence between officials for that year. But getting through nine months between just two people took three weeks and I cannot go back to school and tell my advisor that I’ve gotten through just one year of letters between two people. So now I’m looking up a few themes in the archive’s catalog system, ordering some representative documents, and then typing the relevant stuff. That way, I have a sense of what kinds of themes I can work with as well as a sense of what’s important during the various periods of my project; my dissertation prospectus will now be more concrete. Today I started one particular theme and it’s completely fascinating. I love my topic but with all things, when you are fishing for scraps of information out of nowhere and you aren’t hitting the motherlode, you lose a little of the love of your project. I’ve been overwhelmed by how much there is to go through and how little you might actually get for all your trouble. But today, I started going through these amazing documents that get more to what I’m interested in. So I’m feeling more motivated to get back to the archives a little earlier tomorrow than I have this week.

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3 Responses to “a good day”

  1. 1 whitheramp

    that’s how i felt about the archives in SF — nothing is really categorized by religion (the long overlooked category for my topic), so i spent hours just fishing through tons and tons of folders, since you can’t really have any idea where tings will show up (and important things do turn up in the least expected folders). so i realized it’ll take me at least 3 months to work through two of the archives in SF, and there’s another collection i still need to check out. still, i’m very glad that my archives are decently (and competently!) staffed and have great finding aids, which i know many researchers lack.

  2. 2 thefrogprincess

    WHITHERAMP!!!! YAY!!! i wondered when you would figure out that i had moved! haha…are you sure it’s really going to take you three months in SF or are you just saying that so you can have fun in SF on your department’s dime? haha, j/k even though I do get that question from people. Somebody insisted that everything must be online once and I was like…NO, in fact. When I come back here for the longer trip, I’ll have to go through these big volumes of correspondence looking for little mentions of my topic but if I didn’t, I would probably miss interesting stuff.

  3. 3 whitheramp

    haha, don’t underestimate me, i’ve been reading this blog for weeks! yeah, it’s not *my* fault my archives are only open from 1-5 M-F, thus meaning I have to be in SF twice as long . . . seriously though, once i add interviews to archival research, this could take a while — i might TA this spring actually, just so i can be away most of 4th yr, if need be.


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