Sunday, 28 February 2010

Research Methods: The Archives

The coolest research methods lecture yet was about using the archives. Not only was the topic interesting and the lecture useful, but the lecturer was engaging and funny.

Did you know that some archives will ask if you're prone to spontaneous nosebleeds? They fear you might burst a capillary and stain the pages of a precious manuscript. And apparently there's a whole ettiquite to follow when making an inquiry and when visiting an archive. There are foam wedges to keep the spine of books from being broken, cotton covered beads to hold the pages open, cotton gloves to keep your oils from staining the pages, and no pens allowed because they might leak. The coolest thing about archives is that they present a mystery and a challenge. I'm not sure I'll ever really visit one or become a hunter of obscure and previously unseen things (if for no other reason than they keep the archives cold), but I am liking the idea of it.

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