A & S standards

I. Marc Carlson LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu
Thu Oct 24 16:45:29 PDT 1996

<Stefan li Rous<"Mark Harris" <mark_harris at riscgate.sps.mot.com>>>
>While I would like to hear your definitions and contrasts between all
>five of these and particularly the last two, we can take this to email
>unless you think others might be interested.
<PUG<Richard Bainter <pug at interval.net>>>
>I'm interested, and think others would be as well. Although I have
>concepts of what these are, I don't know what other think they are, nor
>the proper definitions. (Which I can of course look up, but doesn't tell
>me what others think they are.)

Since I have two on-list, and one off-, in favor of more spouting of
opinion :), and one of those is the guy running the place.  

Ok, as I learned this way back at the Pompous Academy, a "Primary"
source is the item in question that you are study.  A Secondary source
is one step removed from that item.  A Tertiary source is a further
remove than that.

For example, if I were going to discuss Medieval Shoes, if I had
access to a REAL Medieval shoe, that would be a Primary Source. A
photograph, or a detailed description of that shoe, would be a
Secondary source.  Someone relating what someone ELSE had to say about
that shoe would be a Tertiary source (This is the real reason for asking
for citations...  Unless you are a recognized authority in something or
other, and have explored that topic on your own, all you are likely to
be doing when relating "facts" is to be quoting what other people have 
said about it, and as anyone who has ever played the "telephone game" 
should be able to attest to, sometimes minor details can dissapear -- and
when enough minor details dissapear, the message becomes garbage.

(BTW, my shoe site is, with regards to actual medieval shoes, a Tertiary
source (at best); although it can be considered a secondary source regarding
making shoes that resemble medieval shoes, or shoes in a style I believe
resembles a Medieval one (since I *have* done that); and a primary source
(one of many, most of which are IMO better) if you were doing a study on 
the various levels of scholarship on the 'Net.)

Let's look at this another way.  We have in this Society what has been 
referred to as the "ubiquitous Viking Women's Tabard".  Not terribly long 
ago, Gunnora made a reference to this on the Historical Costuming List,
and pointing out that this was an erroneous interpretation.  My wife, fussy
costumer that she is wanted me (she would have done it herself, but she
is still without email) to find out on what sources Gunnora had used to base
this statement.

(Note that this was not a criticism of Gunnora or her scholastic integrity,
but for something like this, had Talona simply *accepted* someone else's
word would have been inexcusably sloppy without some idea of WHY that other
person had made such a statement.)

Gunnora cheerfully supplied some sources most of which we immeadiately 
placed InterLibrary Loan requests on.  We have now started to look at 
the first of these, and what it appears has happened was that these 
dresses were first excavated [Primary Sources]; they were described in 
print by the Archaeologist, and the experts they consulted with [Secondary 
Sources].  However, these were in German, and when these sources were 
first quoted in English [Tertiary Source] a significant error crept in, 
transforming the wraparound dress style to be described as a front and 
back tabard.  Until recently, all of the costuming works that described 
the dress in English, were based on that flawed tertiary source, which 
means that (if this is the correct sequence of events, something I will 
be able to state with more conviction when the German works we are 
waiting on come in) everyone who made an outfit, basing their work, in
Good Faith, upon the work of THEIR sources runs the risk of looking
pretty stupid, or feeling like they look stupid.  (BTW, if you simply
take MY word for it, you are running a great risk, since I have no idea
at this point if the mistranslation hypothesis is supported by the original
German materials).

Are you seeing a pattern here ?


I. Marc Carlson, Reference Librarian    |LIB_IMC at CENTUM.UTULSA.EDU
Tulsa Community College, West Campus LRC|Sometimes known as:
Reference Tech. McFarlin Library        | Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn 
University of Tulsa, 2933 E. 6th St.    | University of Northkeep 
Tulsa, OK  74104-3123 (918) 631-3794    | Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

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