R is for Rodger (and Reading and Really Good Reference)
I've been agonizing over what to write for this post. Have I covered everything I should have covered? I am not an expert in this area by any stretch of the imagination. I am still feeling my way round the subject. Should I write about Ratings, Rigs, or Remittance Registers? Did I cover all the right references? Have I been remiss in something? Oh the agony!
|A boat at the Garden Island Museum...who can tell me what kind of boat this is? It was in the Garden Island RAN Heritage Centre|
Picture me thumbing through book after book, seeking inspiration. I was reminded that I hadn't really looked at Dr. Nicholas Rodger's Naval Records for Genealogists. I googled him to remind myself of his qualifications. And they are very substantial indeed. Here is the Wikipedia entry. Looking at the Authority Control at the bottom of the Wikipedia page is always interesting too....for example, look at the World Cat Identity page on Dr Rodger - isn't it fascinating looking at all the stuff he's written and how much it gets borrowed in libraries. Or am I just a bit of a mad librarian who finds this kind of stuff fascinating but to everyone else it is deeply boring?
|The mad librarian heading off to Storytime at the local kindy yesterday. The hard hat was to illustrate a story about our library undergoing some construction work at the moment.|
At any rate, one thing led to another and I landed on this magnificent website. What a labour of love this is. It is of course a boon to someone in my profession - an endless source of Reader's Advisory to someone seeking a new read in naval fiction. But it is actually so much more....look at this page for example. Or this one. This one would give me several years worth of blog prompts!
Of course you should always check out who is behind a website and what their qualifications or authority is before you accept it as gospel. You can see this site's About Me section here (it's not all that easy to find). But I thought the site was pretty neat for what it was. It reminded me that to get a feel for a subject we don't have to read just non-fiction. I have started to read Patrick O'Brian's Road to Samarcand. It's a light-hearted read full of adventure and comedy that blokes seem to love so much, bless 'em.
If you have very tricky reference enquiries you really are best to talk to a librarian/archivist. The National Archives has published some very good research guides online like this one. There is live chat, email and phone numbers in case you need more help from a real person. And of course, many other libraries and archives around the world provide similar services.
Go on! Make a research adviser feel loved and wanted. Be brave and ask them a question. May your research voyage be a splendid one!