Project Progress

Currently my project has been coming along with some difficulty but nothing I can’t handle. The reason for the difficulties is trying to find primary sources that I can utilize. I have found several articles online about micrometers but these are only secondary sources. Luckily I have found a pdf from archive.org of an old instruction manual for factory workers. In this manual there are whole chapters devoted to the history of standardized measuring. I plan on talking about the basic history of standardized measure in my project to set the stage for when I include the Micrometer. I hope this will make it so that anyone can understand the importance of high accurate measuring tools in industrial history. Even for someone like me that works as a metal worker talking about micrometers isn’t very interesting. So the most difficult step in this project will be getting the information to the reader in a way that is understandable. By incorporating diagrams and pictures of micrometers along with what they allow workers to produce, my hope is that the reader will understand how vital measuring tools are in manufacturing. 

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After looking at the list of databases to choose from I decided to look into the Papers of the War Department 1784-1800. This database is an excellent example of how much easier it is to research a topic utilizing an electronic archive. With a simple click I can search through hundreds of sources in minutes. I can make my research even easier by using advance search options on the database that will narrow down my search to a few key words. Compared to going to a library and sifting through their archive is another story. Many libraries have been collecting items for a very long time and not all collections are properly cataloged. So to search a physical archive can be an extremely difficult task. Unfortunately not all online databases are as useful as you would think. Some, like this database, are unable to produce actual images of the source. this can be due to lack of funding to scan all available sources, or the inability to scan a source because of its condition.

By digitizing sources you enable everyone to experience a piece of history. The internet is full of information and everyday more and more info is added. I am glad that there are people out there that work constantly to find, record, and upload sources to the internet. It makes history more accessible to the public which is the goal of every public historian. However, there is a difference between a digital source and a physical one. There is always the human connection, the ability to actually hold a source in your hand means a lot more than just reading it on a screen.   It is also a lot easier to lose a file to corruption then it is to lose a physical document. No matter what way you look at it database are amazing tools for everyone to utilize. 

Scavenger Hunt:

So the way I went about doing this pretty simple, meaning that I started off with entering the entire line of each topic into Google.  As I did this for number one I was immediately drawn to a link that brought me to another student’s blog. In this blog I saw that is was the scavenger hunt that I was doing but instead was completed.  I saw that the blogger included a picture of the article that I was searching for so I decided to search the title in the CCSU library database. I came up with nothing so I decided to go to google search and search “op-ed teacher labor disputes”. All I got was Wikipedia links and nothing else. So I began to go to advance search when I say that google now has a scholar search. I used this option using the same terms as before and found an article from 1969 relating to a New York salary dispute. Here is the link to the article I found http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/ialrr24&div=23&id=&page=

 

For the second article I used google once more and searched for the first recorded use of solar power in the United States. The only article that I found to be of any use was one from energy.gov. at first the article looked a little age inappropriate for me. It is only a timeline with some graphics but after further investigation I found this article useful. Here is the link http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/solar_timeline.pdf

I found the final item on the scavenger hunt list by searching for it on the official California website. I figured that since it was the history of voting in the state and since every state has an official website I would be able to find it there.   I searched the website for ballot initiatives and came up with this http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/how-to-qualify-an-initiative.htm

The internet is killing my drive to read

As someone that uses the internet frequently I have noticed that my reading abilities have taken a turn for the worst. All my life I have always had a problem with reading. As a kid reading was never as entertaining as did others. In high school I turned this around and actually began to enjoy reading, however this is the same time that I began to use the internet with increasing frequency. As a result my reading skills along with the enjoyment that it brought began to diminish. I always thought that it was just me, that my lacking interest in reading was because I liked video games and movies more, but after reading the articles written by Nicholas Carr and Kent Anderson my view has changed. Nicholas Carr discusses in his article Is Google Making Us Stupid? how he and his colleagues have noticed that the internet has affected there once impressive reading skills. In the article Carr goes over how the development of technology has altered the way we interpret information. Carr interviewed Bruce Friedman, a fellow blogger, and he agreed with Carr, “I now have totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print”. Anderson in his article The Battle for Control-What People Who Worry About the Internet are Really Worried About adds to what Carr says. Both men agree that the internet has caused users to lose the ability to read print sources and research affectively. I completely agree with this argument because I experience it. I find it difficult to read articles that are longer than six paragraphs long. My research skills are horrible as well. If it wasn’t for some of my history classes teaching me basic researching skills I would still be relying heavily on simple Google search.  

Blogging and Academics

I completely agree with Dan Cohen and his views of how blogging can change the future of researching. Yes there perils with using information that you find on the internet. People can post false information and pose as experts in the field of history just ruin your day; however if professors were to collaborate with one another they could create a reliable source of information for all to access. By forming a nexus of information anyone anywhere can gain access to once unattainable information instantly. The internet is the future for the field of history.