Wednesday, December 17, 2008

sources and technology

I made it through my paragraph crawl, but the road ahead doesn't look to be an easy one. The positive part of this struggle is that I have a lot to say; my problem has been figuring out how to put it in order. When I get stumped by this chapter, I daydream about how great it will be to move on to the next one (I had similar fantasies about how much easier the current chapter would be when I was writing the last one.) So, when I dream, I head on over the Congressional Record - on-line.

I think I've mentioned before how I love the hein database and I love it even more since I discovered that it contains an expanded version of the Congressional Record - the complete set! And I've been weighing the relative merits of the CR in its pdf, microfilm, and paper versions. The microfilm version is my least favorite. In fact, I hate it. A minimum of three reels per session. So, I have to scroll, scroll, scroll through one reel to find my pages; then, rewind, switch reels and scroll to each non sequential page where I try to decipher the poor copy on an ancient machine that no longer can zoom in and focus. Have I mentioned that microfilm makes me seasick? The on-line version wins for convenience, something that works well with my whimsy. But the paper version wins for ease of use. Flip to index, find term, select new volume and voilĂ  - page, page, and page. And it is always easy to read and it takes me away from my computer which is good (we've become too close over the past year or so). I am overjoyed with the technological advances that have brought me the CR on-line, yet this version can't top the paper version. But since the paper version is hard to come by, my desktop window-to-the-world will continue to hook me up on-line!

In other recent developments - our desert here is flooding.


another kind of nerd said...

Hey hey, let us not besmirch microfilm! Sure, its a pain at times, but it is also another means of making information available to the masses. And speaking from personal experience, the creation of microfilm is a mind-numbing task that requires a fantastic attention to detail. That ain't easy... letting your mind thing of more entertaining things while trying to keep your pagination in order.

As you can tell, I have a soft spot in my heart for microfilm and those that toil in the trenches. I suppose those trenches would be filled with water if I were in CA at the moment, but whatev.

Dolce Vita said...

You know, I've sometimes thought about the people who shot my microfilm when I'm slogging through it. I either feel grateful (because some of the most fruitful sources I've used now exist only on microfilm) or sympathetic (over how the film just goes on and on - there must be solidarity in boredom). Microfilm does have its redeeming qualities. It is still my least favorite, but, then again, I'm always reading it (and it has become crucial).