Trawling the Internet

When you are first asked to research something that you’re not very familiar with, it is often difficult to know where to start. You type something into Google and thousands of entries pop up, and it’s very tempting to simply click straight on to Wikipedia, even though you know you shouldn’t. But what I’ve learnt this week from researching information for the iBook of Maggot Moon, is just to read as much as you can on the subject you’re looking up. The more you read, the more you learn about the subject, so the better judge you are of how likely certain facts are. I also always like to read around a subject as it then makes writing about it a lot easier because I feel like I actually know what I’m talking about.

During my week as an intern at Hot Key, I’ve been researching information for Maggot Moon on the cheery subjects of genocide, propaganda and missing people. I already knew a bit about all of these things, but found as I was trawling the internet that I kept thinking to myself, ‘ooh, I didn’t know about that before!’ The more I read about a subject, the more I wanted to read. When researching genocides I would suddenly find that, having followed hundreds of links from one website to another, I would be reading about a very specific part of a slightly obscure event that only might have been genocide. Nonetheless, everything was fascinating and when it came to condensing all the information, I struggled and ended up writing far too much and had to do a second piece of work that was slightly more to the point. The problem was I just kept thinking, ‘well I can’t possibly leave that out, it’s far too interesting!’

I think that the idea of making enhanced digital books like Maggot Moon is such a fantastic idea because it really merges the digital world with the world of stories. There is so much that can be done with technology, and this is yet another brilliant, useful way in which we can use technology to enhance our reading experience. It can sometimes be frustrating when you’re reading a book and you want to find out more. I so often want to look up whatever the book is about, but once I finish the book, I forget, and never get round to doing so. But with a digital version if you do want to know more, you can. But then again if that isn’t the aspect of the story you interested in, then you don’t need to!

As a result of doing this research, I think (or rather hope) that I have got better at researching things, and that what I do write about is true! Do you have any good research tips? Do you find yourself fascinated by what you’re researching, or frustrated by the sheer volume of information available?

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2 responses to “Trawling the Internet

  1. Thanks Phoebe! I wish the internet had existed (in a meaningful way) when I was at school – I remember hours in the library taking endless notes and then trying to piece them together when I got home. Not to mention the dust! It is so easy to get distracted now though. Or decide when to stop looking!

    I do love, though, that basically you can find out pretty much everything you need, in some form or another online.

    I heard from Sara that you have done such brilliant research for us, so thank you so much! And we will see you very soon I’m sure…

  2. I always used to do this. When I was studying History at Uni, I always ended up going off on a tangent. I’ve kept a lot of my notes just because I might read them again one day and find all these interesting things that wouldn’t necessarily be easy to find outside of a Uni library and rows of dusty old journals.

    It’s fascinating what you can find out online – I usually follow a link of a link of a link and before I know it I’ve lost the page I was originally reading and I’m now researching something completely unrelated!

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