Using LT to track sources consulted

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Using LT to track sources consulted

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1mlnelson01
heinäkuu 2, 2011, 6:41am

Does anyone have an especially good way to track sources they have consulted on a specific research topic and what the outcome was? I have a brick wall and over the past year have consulted at least 50 sources and probably double that. I've been to at least ten or twelve libraries and now am finding I'm revisiting works I already reviewed because I've forgotten I looked at them already. Most of the sources are books, but also manuscript collections. The problem I'm having is keeping track of which books I've looked at, at what library or archives I found them, and what the result of the research was.

The sourcing feature of my genealogy software could potentially do this but it is time-consuming, only really handles positives (sources where I actually found something relevant, as opposed to books I looked at and found nothing) and (worst of all) impossible to search by title or keyword. Does anyone use LT for this purpose?

2lilithcat
heinäkuu 2, 2011, 8:58am

if I were you, I would catalogue the books consulted and create a Collection for them. Then I'd use tags to indicate where I found them, and private comments to state the results of the research.

3thornton37814
heinäkuu 2, 2011, 10:11am

Personally, I write research reports to myself citing all the negative results. I generally tell myself exactly what I searched in each source so that if I come up with another idea later that I will know whether or not I searched specifically for that angle.

As far as using LibraryThing, if I were to use it as you are seeking to do, I would use a combination of a tag such as "project:Smith" (something that is unique but recognizable to you) and the private comments field to make the notes. I think that I personally would prefer my own research reports, but what works for one person may not work for another.

4mlnelson01
heinäkuu 3, 2011, 12:15pm

Thanks to you both for the ideas. I think I may be trying to solve multiple problems all at once and may need more than one approach. On the one hand, an LT collection for genealogy sources would give me a single reference source for materials I own, have on my hard drive as PDF, or have used in libraries, etc. I could even use the private notes to tell me where they are and when I last referenced them.

But I also really love the idea of personal research reports that include all the materials used and what searches were done. I can also use hyperlinks to reference the LT information about each book right from the report, which will help me avoid re-typing all the bibiographic info.

5thornton37814
heinäkuu 3, 2011, 5:14pm

Actually - I would advise using full form Evidence Explained citations in your research report to yourself. If all you have is a hyperlink, what happens if the information is moved to another server? It happens all the time.

6mlnelson01
heinäkuu 3, 2011, 7:58pm

You're right of course, there is no such thing as a fully persistent URL so hyperlinks do break eventually. Hopefully not in LT anytime soon, since we've all invested so much time cataloguing our collections here!

7bjstarmans
heinäkuu 14, 2011, 7:51am

I used to use a private blog on wordpress for my genealogy research notes describing sources I'd consulted (and sometimes private research reports) but have recently switched to EverNote. Both have the advantage of being available anywhere. With EverNote, you can capture images, webpages, create notes etc. from your desktop, laptop or smart phone and I love the smart phone option for quick notes, or taking a photo of the publisher page of a book and uploading it so I can later create a proper source citation.

8pinkozcat
heinäkuu 14, 2011, 7:56am

Don't ever forget, though, that more and more information is becoming available, particularly online, so some sites might yield more information with a revisit.

9mlnelson01
heinäkuu 15, 2011, 5:18pm

>7 bjstarmans: Thanks for the tip on Evernote. I haven't used that before, and it looks very interesting for logging and updating research, as well as maintaining links to research sources. I've been using the camera on my cell phone a lot recently for exactly what you describe - imaging title pages so I always have the info I need for a source citation. LT and Library of Congress catalog links also help with that, I've found recently, so I am also recording the ISBN of every book I reference so I can get cataloging info online.

>8 pinkozcat: pinkozat, you are absolutely right about this. So much new information is becoming available all the time!

10kac522
heinäkuu 23, 2011, 12:32am

I've been using Excel when I have a list of things, only because I'm familiar with it. For me it's easy to sort and manipulate the data. I recently made a spreadsheet of possible FOLEY relatives in Chicago and every address (from city directories) they lived in over a 25 year span. By manipulating the data, I was able to figure out that there were several names I hadn't realized were probably related, just because the same address/block kept popping up. Not sure I would have found it just by taking notes over several sessions at the microfilm.

But that's me--probably wouldn't work for most people. I also use OneNote to keep track of web pages I've consulted--you can capture the page, URL, etc. in one click from IE.