As I was doing the research for my post on South Carolina’s Tricentennial, one point was driven home – you just can’t find everything you need on the Internet. That’s a lesson our students often forget. Sometimes you just have to crack open a book or make a trip to the local library in order to get the information you need.
I have, however, found a couple of tricks to make library research much easier, especially if you’re working with reference materials and other items that have limited circulation, or that can’t be removed from the library. I’ve found these techniques especially helpful in places like the South Carolina Room of the Greenville County Library, where the items are often one of a kind, and need to be protected.
I always have an old-fashioned pencil and paper for taking notes, but my research tool of choice lately has been my trusty Nikon S70 point and shoot camera. Today’s cameras have such high resolution and memory is so cheap that it’s just as easy to snap a picture of a page in a book to review later. You can zoom into the photo to read the text clearly, and it saves a ton of money on photocopying. You can also snap photos of images and illustrations, as well as bibliographical information for proper citation later.