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Archival Research in the Deep Web

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Linda Wang

on 1 July 2013

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Transcript of Archival Research in the Deep Web

Google is just
THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG!!

Searching and Seeking in
the Deep Web
Article by Elizabeth Yakel
Presentation by Linda Wang
Since the advent of the internet, the search for information and primary resources is easier than ever before.

But...
The "DEEP WEB"
Directories
- Used to only be stupidly big books that document what library has what book, but now online with the most comprehensive/up-to-date one being the "Repositories of Primary Sources"
Links to archival collections around the world, organized geographically
Links to specialized lists like SHARP and WorldCat
http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/special-collections/Other.Repositories.html
Websites
- Most archives/collections have web presence though their completeness and navigability will vary; some provide only basic information about operation while others provide a detailed list of holdings
When searching these, read about HOW to search on the website to help optimize your search
Also try to find out whom to contact for more information
Online Inventories and Finding Aids
- a finding aid is a document containing detailed information about a specific collection of papers or records within an archive, most in depth/details about a collection
Found on most archival websites, so are search-able others need to be browsed manually
Some collections have online catalogs, other have finding aids, some have either, others have both
OCLC’s ArchieveGrid contains almost a million descriptions of archival collections and links to over 70,000 finding aids
Digitized Primary Sources
- either "Digitized Documents" which were originally in analog form but scanned and published on the web or "Born-Digital Materials" which are originally digital
Digital materials can be found in the Library of Congress's American Memory site: memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
features sources across the country, though incomplete and only excerpts from larger collections
Few entire collections of primary sources have been digitized at this point
Digital vs physical forms may affect interpretation
Archival materials are often located in the "Deep Web," where it is hard to find
Lots of restrictions to access or information is stored in tables that search engines cannot effectively interact with
Once found, can you understand it? Is it even appropriate?
One must plan and search systematically to be successful
Just adding more words randomly will not increase your success rate!
Advanced search mode is your friend, even if you're just looking for something basic!
Catalog records, finding aids, and bibliography networks are also very useful if you know how to use them and/or where to find them
Online Bibliographic Catalogs
- Colleges tend to include these in their online catalogs to provide the members of their community with an overview of local resources
But some manuscripts will get lost in this system and records are highly selective and not comprehensive
Use WorldCat to search holds of libraries around the world by one of three options:
1) worldcat.org 2) subscribed to the WorldCat database (most colleges do this) 3) Library of Congress: loc.gov/coll/nucmc --> "Searching Manuscripts" --> "Searching on OCLC WorldCat"
Search Strategies!
-3 P's: Planning, Patience, and Persistence
-
Synonym generation
- search synonyms
-
Chaining/name generation
- vocabulary subject terms to link together same topics even if different terminology is used
-
Pearl Growing
- begin with a small/narrow search but build up
-
Successive segmentation
-start with overarching concept and whittle away results to a few select collections
-
Document searches
- Repeat successful searches and avoid the unsuccessful
-
Don't just do direct searches!
- Also search for related activities, events, colleagues, friends, etc. related to your topic
-
Boolean Operators
- add 'and,' 'or,' 'not,' or quotation marks to searches
Happy Hunting!
-When all is searched and found, it just comes down to deciding what is appropriate and what isn't, which isn't always easy!
-Catalog records give general overviews but often are tantalizingly vague and require follow up to fill in the gaps, so pay attention!
-As the internet grows, so do archives, sometimes even using social software
-Shared authority in creating resources!
-Seemingly disparate collections are now being linked too!
-It's now easier than ever to find primary sources,
but there's still lots to do!!
Why is the internet such an powerful resource?
What are some search strategies or websites that you use for researching?
Full transcript