Friday, March 28, 2008

Finding stuff fast

Fareed Zakaria on Web research:
A few years ago, I was working on a column on Iraq recalled reading in Gertrude Bell’s biography a brilliant quote from a letter that the British adventurer-diplomat wrote to her father in 1922 (I think). I spent 10 minutes Googling and found that the University of Newcastle in Great Britain had put the entire Getrude Bell archive up on the Web. In 20 minutes, I had the actual letter on my screen. When I was in graduate school, getting that letter would have taken three months of inter-library loans and searching through microfiches.
I remember the pre-Internet era similarly. Of course, there's some stuff in the physical archives that's not on the Web.

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