Research Methods For Local History

Vancouver is fortunate in having a very fine Library and City Archives (CVA) system that maintains an enormous body of documentary and visual evidence of Vancouver’s history and heritage. There is, in fact, so much data available that it can be overwhelming for both professional and amateur researchers alike. To assist researchers, the CVA has developed an excellent system of identification of its enormous collection and, especially for City of Vancouver records, the big red binders in the reading room that describe each fond are a mandatory first stop for any serious research.

But the ease of access to so much data leads to another problem — how do you maintain your own records of what you find? And how do you find specific information within your own records when you need it?  As my own large collection of data for Grandview has grown over the past many years, I have had to develop (and often, trash and re-develop) systems to handle this problem. I;m still not sure I have it right.

I recently came across an interview with Billy Smith, Professor of History at Montana State University, which addresses this specific issue.  It is an audio podcast of about 45 minutes duration. There are a couple of minutes of introduction before the interview begins, but then we get into the useful material.

Episode 097: Billy Smith, How to Organize Your Research

Select “Episode 097” above and then, when the new page opens, the Listen Now feature can be found with a couple of PageDown clicks.Grab your favourite beverage, settle down into your favourite chair, and listen to some excellent advice from a long-time successful researcher.