Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Kind of Indexing is This?

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Lets all admit it up front, some days are just better than others.  Or, we could title this, "Why we should NOT research when we are exhausted."


But, since last week's research trip was as much about getting way and trying to relax, so I will forgive myself.

I spent some time at the Allen County Public Library reviewing my old standby to do list.  Some of the items have been there a while.  Too long.  Since I had few burning desires research wise, I thought to myself, "Self, this is a very good time to work on these old stale and long standing items, get em off that to do list."

One item involved serveral references to biographical data in several different types of "Who's Who" publications.  Whew, there are a bunch of different titles.  It is quite amazing actually.

I was interested in American Men & Women of Science.  The finding aid in which I first discovered this reference said, "Use the index first - - - " (or words to that effect.)  With the assistance of several reference librarians, I finally obtained copies of 2 indexes, 2 different years.  Here are photos from one, noting I have cropped the full pages for use as my examples:

I know you remember the trick of clinking on the image to see a larger image and then clicking on the back button to return to Reflections, so as you do that, you will note,
  1. Image 1:  Title page, shows this is the "Discipline Index"
  2. Image 2:  Shows how the publishers break into "Sub-Specialities"
  3. Image 3:  Shows how the Sub-Specialities are further broken down by states with names of individuals.  Please note, NO page numbers.
So, tired Carol spent like, over an hour, chasing down these indexes, one on the shelves and one from the storage area in the basement (by special request, wait 20 minutes please while we retrieve it for you).

Then it hit the tired brain cells, woke em up a bit, DUHHHH, there are no page numbers here folks.  Now, you have to know, I did not know what discipline or sub-speciality or even what state this guy lived in, and even if I had, can someone PLEASE explain to me, what good this index would do for me??  I mean, I knew his name, and that was all.

After the lightbulb went off, I trucked back over to the open stacks, on the VERY top shelf, and just managed to reach the individual volumes, grabbed the one that covered the surname I was looking for, alpha thank you very much, flipped the pages and, yes mam, there he was.  Here is a sample of one of the pages, and no, none of these people are my man of interest.  Just a sample:

Not sure this proved a thing to me, or a lesson to anyone, but, after stumbing around, I had my man, and yes, there is a bucket load of info on him.  I was fishing, by the way, as I had his middle initial as "J", and it really is "I".  Handwriting don't count in family history, indexing can be wonderful or a waste of an hour of your time. 

My own determination to see if this man with a middle initial of "I" was my man proved to be a good thing, but, snicker, maybe next time I will look closer at the "set" instead of just pulling the index.  By taking a closer look, I could have saved some time. Of course, I would not have been trompsing all over the huge ACPL and getting some desperately needed exercise.  So, I guess it was a good thing, exercise, middle initial proved to be "I" and Carol found her dude!  Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

1 comment:

hummer said...

I love the way you make your journey visual to us. I feel as if I were sitting next to you.