Welcome to Remember Where We Parked, the class blog for LIBS 2504: Information Resources in History. Why a blog? I’ve found that blogging is a good way to get students out of the hothouse atmosphere of Canvas and into the real world (more or less).
Because this is a required general education course, there are things we have to cover. They are:
- how to identify information needs
- how to find appropriate information effectively
- how to critically evaluate information
- how to use information ethically
We’ll start with identifying information needs, specifically by developing research questions. A good research question makes finding information a lot easier no matter what your topic is. Under finding appropriate information effectively, we’ll look at using library databases, specialty search engines like Google Scholar and the general web. Since this course focuses on historical resources, a part of the course will deal with finding and evaluating primary sources. Finally, you’ll need to evaluate resources and give credit properly .
Because I cannot handle grading even one more assignment on topics such as gun control laws, climate change, abortion, the effect of violence in the media, etc., and because this is a history course, I assign topic areas. This particular class has only a few history majors: they get to choose the location and time period they’re interested in researching Everyone else will do topics related to the ancient world. Those of you with a declared major will need to focus on your subject area and how it relates to the ancient world.
- a business major could research the Roman trade with China
- a health sciences major could study surgery performed by the ancient Egyptians
- a computer science major could research the Antikythera device
Haven’t declared a major yet? pick a topic related to the field you are thinking of majoring in.
- a “possible” art major could look at using art to help decipher the ancient Egyptians beliefs in the afterlife
- a “possible” criminal justice major could research the Roman legal response to the early growth of Christianity
- a “possible” history major could research Spartan women in Spartan culture
Geographically, your topic must be located in one of the old world continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. You can research anything between about 4,000 BCE to about 700 CE. I will consider dates that are earlier or later if you can give me a really good reason why you need to do so. Given the date range and the geographic range, you have a lot of options for topics . You can also choose a topic, such as trade, that covers several civilizations or locations as long as you focus your research.
Let me know if you have any questions – convo me via Canvas.
N.B. Why BCE and CE instead of BC and AD? There are a couple of reasons. The first is that not everyone is Christian, so it’s just basic courtesy to use BCE and CE. More importantly, it’s a reminder that the ancient world was very diverse and that our world view is very different from theirs.