someone else’s blog: the feminist librarian

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This is a particularly interesting little piece about researching and the wackiness that ensues.

No matter what research method you’re using, be it books, Google, or databases, you can apparently encounter issues such as this.  The blog’s author was looking for a particular quotation and found four variations, all similar but not the same, none of which actually featured the person mentioned in the original search at all.

(I, the amateur searcher of all things, have never experienced this exact dilemma myself.  I’ve gotten lost searching for red herrings on imdb and Wikipedia, though, so I feel their pain.)

I think the reason I like this story is that is shows that yes, anyone can be fallible, including historical research.  The author did her job quite well, that’s not the issue at hand, but either due to poor documentation or multiple recorded instances of essentially the same thing being said, it turned into what the author describes as “historical games of telephone.”  It’s interesting.

It’s also interesting how the same thing could have been said in variations so many times and recorded; people say similar things all the time, that’s not weird, but it’s interesting that four different recorded histories recorded it four different ways on four separate instances.  Years apart, locations apart, everything.  The strangest things travel like that.  And we have librarians to cut to the truth of it.

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