Wednesday, February 11, 2009

'I never drink...' The Sequel

As you may recall in my last installment I was going lo-tek in search of an answer to the burning question: “Why aren’t there any online copies of the New York Times between August 2nd and November 5th of 1978?”

As I arrived on the first floor where the library houses government documents, curriculum, maps, and microfilm I was directed to the section containing the New York Times and pulled the boxes for 1978. They contained several spools clearly marked Aug. 1978-Nov. 1978. I loaded the microfilm and began to scroll through…

(this is my attempt to build suspense…it really was quite suspenseful at the time)

The last complete paper on the microfilm reel is for August 1st after that there is a notice of a printing strike. On the microfilm publication continues with 8”x10” pages typed containing nothing but articles from the AP News feed and NYT writers. This continues until November 6th when regular publication resumes. Without knowing about the printers strike I had no idea why all my database search results were turning up nil. It certainly takes some sleuthing to discover that the 88 day printers strike is explained in the November 6th edition.

Perhaps Indian Jones said it best:

“Forget about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure and "X" never, ever, marks the spot. Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading.”

Moral of the story…don’t be afraid to look to old technology for new answers!

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