Lately several people have written to me asking how I research articles for History Rhymes. I feel, therefore, it is appropriate to address this question publicly so that everyone who would like to know has the opportunity to find out.
The research process I use is pretty straightforward and is the culmination of experienced gained through years of academic research as an undergraduate and graduate student. Once I’ve chosen a topic, I begin writing about it based on my own knowledge of the subject. Most of the topics I write about I am pretty well-versed in and so most of the time I can write relatively freely with just the occasional need to look up a date or small fact. Of course, there are other topics which I know less about and use the excuse of writing an article for the blog as a means to learn more about it.
When that is the case, I begin by consulting any books that I might have on the subject. Since I’ve always loved history books, I have a relatively large collection of them. Most of the information I get for my articles comes from these books and from having read the majority of them. Occasionally I will need to consult books from the library, but it is rather rare. Generally I don’t use the internet for research very often unless I am looking at digitalized primary source documents or eBooks which I don’t have access to otherwise. If I do use the internet for other research, I primarily use it to confirm facts or to quickly look up dates which can sometimes be quite difficult to find in a book.
Most of the time I don’t cite my sources on History Rhymes because it is a blog and not a formally published article. There are occasions when I have cited sources though, but that is rather rare as I find it a bit superfluous for a blog. I am always glad to discuss what sources I have used though for any given article, so if that is information you would like, please do get in touch either by email or by leaving a comment on the appropriate article.
Images are, however, a different story. Most of the time I will include the source for the image in the caption. This is because people often want a larger version of the image that I have uploaded to the website. I try to use images from Wikipedia that are in the public domain so as not to run into any copyright and publishing issues, but of course that is not always the case. Some of the images I use (such as the picture of the nineteenth-century library above) I have had in my personal collection for many years and no longer have any idea where they came from.
I hope this has given you a better overview of how I research articles for History Rhymes. If you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to ask.