>infolit land William Badke
Trinity Western University
The Great Research Disaster
I came across the following account accidentally stapled to the back of a fairly
decent sophomore research paper. I feel compelled to share it, regardless of
what kind of trouble I might get into from its author, one Liw Ekdab. The world
Liw has moved into should give us all cause for concern. Read on.
THE TEXT OF THE STUDENT'S LETTER
Note to self—type this up before you send it to the student newspaper.
So I had to do this essay for my mod hist class, and I have to tell you I’m done
with libraries. I mean, give me a break! Clunky search engines, can’t find the arti-
cles I want even when the prof tells me what they are. Nobody lets you use Google.
“ The world Liw has
moved into should
give us all cause
And you don’t want to ask those librarians anything—they all look so superior.
Me, I’m not what you’d call a model student. Sure, I know college is my ticket
to the future and all that, but then along comes another research paper. I hate
them. At least I’ve wised up about libraries. Nothing works like it’s supposed to.
The technology is rough; nothing makes sense. The only thing a librarian ever did
for me was one of those orientation classes. I slept through it, so that wasn’t any
kind of help at all.
for concern. This time, I’m going straight to Google. Sure, the prof said no websites, but
Google has books, right? And that Google Scholar has articles. I bet I could put
together a paper from pieces of Google and never come near a library or even a
library website. I bet I could write a paper good enough to get at least a B+.
Right away there’s a problem—my topic is the looting of the [Iraq] National
Museum of Baghdad during the Iraq War in 2003. That means I won’t find any thing
in old books, and Google Books doesn’t let you see much of the new ones. Could
be a challenge. Google Scholar likewise. I tried it once—couldn’t figure out what I
was looking at. Some of the sites asked you to pay, others were books …. Still, I
think this is a better plan than trying to figure out the library. Who knows? Worth
a try at least.
I’ve heard it a bunch of times: “Don’t use Wikipedia. If I see a Wikipedia article
in your bibliography, you get a zero for your paper.” But I know it’s the go-to place
for the background you need. And Wikipedia didn’t let me down for this one. I found
a great article on the National Museum of Iraq.
I read it for background, OK? I wasn’t planning to quote from it or anything. And
the article had links at the end. One was for the website of the Smithsonian