Tag Archives: research

[Searchability] is the real leap,” Stingone says. “Because what you find once you have this massive amount of text [is] that you could pretty much put in any word you could think of and find something.

For Biographers, The Past Is An Open (Electronic) Book : All Tech Considered : NPR

Stingone is talking about born-digital materials, but the power of searchability is also of at the heart of the transformativeness of digitization. Digital search is one of the most powerful tools in the hands of a 21st century researcher.

Work that fails to enter a canon—literary, historical, or otherwise—tends to languish on the dustier shelves of college libraries. Digitization allows a new generation of scholars to look at them with fresh regard. This represents a significant change in the way we think about scholarship. Google Books is a kind of Victorian portal that takes me into a mare magnum of out-of-print authors, many of whom helped launch disciplines. Or who wrote essays, novels, and histories that did not transcend their time. Or who anonymously produced the paperwork of emerging bureaucracies, organizations, and businesses that, because printed, has been scanned and, because scanned, is now available.

Professor Paula Findlen, a historian at Stanford, basically saying everything I’ve ever hoped would be true about digitization and research in her column,“How Google Rediscovered the 19th Century” in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The current generation of college students has grown up with the internet and plenty of technology, but surprisingly, that doesn’t mean they know how find the information they need for research papers. A two-year study by the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project concludes that students are so used to conducting simple searches on Google that they have a hard time doing more sophisticated research either online or in the library.