Tuesday’s Tip: Build a Research Toolbox and Include Cornell’s Making of America

Thomas MacEntee, of Destination: Austin Family and the force behind Geneabloggers, slipped a tip into a recent Data Back Up webinar:  Create a page on your blog that becomes a virtual research toolbox, filled with useful book titles, web sites, libraries, parks, people–resources that you never want to forget are available.  I had had a similar thought as I set up my site and thought, “Oh, I have that covered!”  But  the image of this toolbox came to me each time I logged into my blog, and I was intrigued.  You look at sources but you use tools.  It was this latter behavior that I wanted to encourage–in myself and others.  So, henceforth and forthwith, the page formerly titled Those Family Sources will be known as My Research Toolbox.  (You can still find it in the Page Bar at the bottom of the Header.)

And to this box I would like to add this essential tool, linking you to the Cornell University Library Making of America digital collection.

The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts.

I stumbled on this site (WHERE has it been hiding!?!) yesterday as I searched for period information about women/childbirth/soldier husbands.  I spent an hour absorbed by the text of  “The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies” before backtracking into the main site.  Once there I spent another 45 minutes winding my way through Harpers New Monthly Magazine, beginning with the 1850 issues.  I have read 0.00398 % of this scanned collection!  This site is one I will certainly revisit with regularity, so I best have a link handy in my toolbox!

8 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tip: Build a Research Toolbox and Include Cornell’s Making of America

  1. After numerous frustrating experiences with the bookmark systems on various browsers and intentions to do this for ages, I am also finally putting together my Genealogy/Research Toolbox on my blog (no links, yet, but it’s there). You’re absolutely right about the Making of America collection – I checked it out after seeing it included in Family Tree Magazine’s list of Civil War resources.

  2. I’m not on board yet on the toolbox. Evernote and Xmarks are working pretty well for me right now. But I had to say thank you for the Cornell University digital collection tip and link. Fabulous stuff!

  3. Thanks for the nudge to use Evernote and Xmarks; I keep meaning to try them.

    The toolbox page has been both storage and conscience–it reminds me to cite my sources. The added benefit of sharing links and sources with others makes it a real two-fer page.

    And, YES, don’t you just <3 Cornell? That collection is my find of the month!
    ~Kay

  4. When I went through my “Other bookmarks” in Chrome, I found so many broken links I decided posting a public toolbox would be a constant hassle to keep current. After trying several of Thomas’ options, I’ve settled on Google Bookmarks. It’s the easiest for me to use. I have the two icons on my bookmarks bar. When I find a site I want to remember, I hit the “Google Bookmark” icon. I edit the site title, mostly shorten, then add a label (Google prompts you with the ones you have used previously so you can be consistent) and I’m done. When I want to go back to a website, I hit the “Google Bookmarks” icon, select the label and there they are.

    • I, too, find Google bookmarks handy–though private. Inside my Research Toolbox are books, documents, and websites, linked to current web addresses. But in addition, I have grown accustomed to giving a full citation for specific texts, articles and books that I have used as sources. That way, in the event of link breakage, I have a chance to find that source again, a step that bookmarking doesn’t allow. I also include items that are not digital. The whole exercise has encouraged the habit to CITE MY SOURCES! With the added benefit that interested readers can happen upon some cool stuff, too! ;)
      ~Kay

  5. Thank you for finding and bring the University of Michigan MOA site to my attention. I can’t wait to explore! ~~Kay

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