Monday, December 22, 2008


For some reason, all this wrapping and Christmas cheer got me thinking about research. OK, that and Sharpe's Eagle which I watched while wrapping. Sharpe's Eagle is the 2nd in the Richard Sharpe movie series based on the series of books by Bernard Cornwell. Sean Bean...yum. And I just discovered as I was checking Mr. Cornwell's website (and loving every link on his page!), that there are 2 more Sharpe movies with Sean Bean! Oooh, I can't wait to check them out.

On to research!

Googling something is all well and good but make sure you verify the source. Is it a government or educational source? Or some random .com. As you all know, anyone can have a website. Don't let Hollywood fool you with their version of history. Wikipedia is a great start for almost any search, but always, always, follow their references link to verify stuff and search any facts you intend to use.

Off line, the World Book Encyclopedia is a excellent source for beginning research. Libraries, while many aren't the repository of historic texts you may need, often have access to an Interlibrary Loan system that can get what you need. Be careful in what you request - if anything happens to that 100 year old book, you're responsible!

Do use other historic authors. Mr. Cornwell is a excellent example of a man who knows the Napoleonic Wars. Patrick O'Brien is his counterpart for the Napoleonic Naval War. Kathy Reichs of Bones fame is a forensic anthropologist. Jane Austen lived in the Regency.

Or documentaries...Ken Burns is known for his (really long) but excellently researched series involving letters ad interviews with the 'common man'.


Jennifer Ross said...

Finding experts is a great way to make the historical details come alive.

I was fortunate to have a friend who had a friend who was an expert on British naval ships. I went to his house, where I saw the most incredibly detailed miniatures he made, then went down to his 'library' which had details of every ship in His/Her Majesty's navy from I don't know when until modern times.

Fascinating stuff! And yes, MY ship was there. Of course, I only used about a tenth of what I learned in my novel.

Anonymous said...

pssst... there's like 16 Sharpe movies... all with Sean Bean.

Isabel Roman said...

Agreed, Jenn. Experts are the best source and 99% of the time more than willing to share all they know. The problem is wading through everything for what you really need and what you think you should use cause you have it!

Anonymous, I realized after the fact (the posting of this blog) that I didn't mention all 14 movies. *sigh* I really did get lost in the site, and by the time I got back to writing the blog, all thoughts of numbers was long, long gone! I'm starting the 4th, Sharpe's Enemies, today.

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