Last night, I was working on my Works Cited section for Chapter 1 when I realized I had an old xeroxed copy of an article on which I had no source information. No problem, I thought. I’ll just look it up in the library database. It’s a famous article. I’ll find it. Unfortunately, the copy I have is a reprint in some collection of work on composition and rhetoric. The library record was for the original version. I didn’t want to repaginate my quotes, so instead I went on a journey of discovery. And while I never did find the right citation, I did find some other cool sources and I learned a thing or two about searching for stuff.
My first stop was Google Scholar. I’ve used this before a few times and find it especially helpful for recent material particularly if it’s technology related. Doing a search on part of the article title (in quotes) and the author’s name yielded me both the original source and a reprint (one more source than the MLA database yielded, but the same two sources I found in WorldCat). The reprint wasn’t the same one as I had because the pagination was completely different. Also, I had received the article around 1997 and the reprint seemed too late. Digging through some of the other results on that search yielded some interesting material, but not the reprint I was looking for.
So, I switched to Amazon. There’s a title on the top left of the pages which might have been a book title so I searched for that. Because it was a really general and commonly-used phrase, I got a bunch of junk. So I thought, hmm, maybe I’ll try A9. I have to say, it was pretty cool and I made far more serendipitous discoveries there. Still didn’t find what I wanted, but it was like being lost in the library. You know how you go retrieve your book off the shelf and you glance at all the surrounding books and next thing you know, you’re sitting in the floor of the aisle, thumbing through a stack of books.* That’s how I felt. With A9, you can search the web, Amazon’s “Inside the Book” feature, blogs, Flickr, and so much more. I mean, it’s pretty damn cool. I mean, I love Google and all, but I admit to be taken in by the sheer grandness of it all. I mean, I found out that Lisa Ede has a blog.
I never did find my source and even put out a desperate plea on the other blog (New Kid kindly attempted to help me). I ended up repaginating my quotes to go with the original source. But boy, what a fun trip I had trying to find it.
*Okay, maybe this only applies to book geeks.