EE's blog


It's a Fact. No Discussion Needed. Or Is It?

"He actually said 'Facts can be debated.' Think about that for a moment!"
With these words, a meme in current circulation takes to task a public statement by a public figure.  So, let's do “think about that for a moment.”  Are facts debatable?

Researching America's "Wretched and Landless Poor"

What was the last book you bought—and why? A friend raised this question on social media yesterday—right after Amazon’s delivery left a new book on my doorstep. Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.
My friend’s why? question triggered a memory. ...

The Other (Non-copyright) Issue with Online Photographs that Nobody Talks About

We’re studying Benjamin S. Anybody. We find his photograph online. Well, we find a photograph that is said to be him. What do we do now?

Reasonably Exhaustive Research

Someone just challenged me to explain the difference between "a reasonably exhaustive search" and "reasonably exhaustive research"—and to do so in 150 words or less.

Thinking ... about Citations and Road Maps

In another forum that will go unnamed, a writer declared: “I like MLA better than CMOS because MLA doesn’t require us to cite page numbers.” ... Whoa! Back up a moment. Somebody took a wrong turn here. ...

How to Complicate a Plain Ol’ Deed-book Citation

Reader pbaum has raised an issue often faced by those who comb history's nooks and crannies: Say I have 10 or more land entries mentioned in the main text, but ....

Five Reasons We Can’t Find the Records We Want

Reason No. 1: Those records were never created in the first place. Recordkeeping is so commonplace today that our expectations are often skewed. ...

How to Avoid Getting Skunked

On another list, a researcher just wrote (and I paraphrase for simplicity): “How much citation is enough? I can personally get bogged down in the multiple citations and lose my enthusiasm for the hunt.” EE’s response was a long Hmhh. ....

The Disciplined Researcher's 20-Question Guide

What is your success rate as a researcher? Does every effort advance your goals or bring you closer to resolving a specific research problem? Do you invest hours that generate no relevant information at all? Do record sets and databases never seem to yield the needed answers to your key questions about events and identities, associations, and relations? Or have you amassed great quantities of data that remind you of the Shakespearean line about “much sound and fury, signifying nothing”? ...

Citations, Rigmarole & Aha! Moments

In the grand scheme of things, what matters in a source citation? In another forum recently, a researcher shared a bit of frustration. To paraphrase, with a bit of elaboration: ...