Using Library Research Methods And Catalogs As A Supplement To AED And Book Collecting
By Julie Carleton
Have you ever had the feeling that you just don’t have all of the information that you need in order to make an informed decision?
The internet can be an overwhelming place to search for information on a book or an author, or a particular subject. The Æ Database (ÆD) is an excellent resource of bibliographical information that you will not find anywhere else. Hundreds of thousands of valuable records from notable sources are available to you, the Æ user, at your fingertips. Yet, you might be one of these people that just don’t have all of the background information to really fully utilize this amazing tool. Your book collecting endeavors can only go so far if you just don’t have all of the facts about a book, an author, or the subject matter at hand. Sitting in front of your computer, you say to yourself, so okay, now where do I start? Without a road map, you could spend unlimited hours browsing the internet for specific information that you need.
As a person with a library background, I would like to share with you some basic internet-based research methods that will help you to ultimately get the most out of the ÆD. These web-based research strategies can be used as a supplement to searching the ÆD.
You say to yourself, why do I need this? How will this really help me? Think of it this way: the more you know about a book its subject or author, the better equipped you will be when you are looking to purchase. Knowledge is power. If you want to know the first printing of a book, or where the author lived, or how to find 19th century color plate books on monarch butterflies, you have to do some initial footwork. The end result, your knowledge, will not only help you to utilize the ÆD to its fullest potential, but as a book collector, you will be in a more optimal position to negotiate with dealers and auction houses. Fellow collectors will regard you with awe, as you proudly expound upon the book at hand. Perhaps being more knowledgeable of the rarity and scarcity of a particular book, you will be able to deftly haggle over a price.
These supplemental steps that I will discuss include how to research a topic on the internet; how to find libraries that house particular collections; how to search library catalogs; and most importantly, how to use this knowledge to search the ÆD in order to become the most successful book collector that you can be.
How To Research A Topic On The Internet
There are three basics ways of using the internet to gather information; search engines, subject directories, and specialized databases (such as the ÆD and library catalogs). So, let’s take a short jaunt through the web to see what we can find. I’ll use my own TCP topic of locating and building a collection of women’s Westerly travel narratives as an example of how to go about researching a topic.