[Sca-cooks] Search Techniques

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Oct 4 19:10:30 PDT 2012

I had access to the Oklahoma State Library for thirty years and it was my 
primary search locale even after the World Wide Web and Alta Vista came 
along.  Google and the expanding pool of documents available has made life 
easier, but has increased the problem of vetting sources for accuracy.  I 
still have boxes of notes and copies from the preiod before common access to 
computers, printers and online search.  These days I begin with Google 
(easier to search than the library) to get a basic knowledge of the subject 
and a bibliography of potential sources.

After 25 years of system and security administration, I do not trust or use 
Facebook.  Nor do I have a smartphone (I like big keyboards and large 
screens), but I may wind up with a tablet for portability and easy of 

My library grows and it is used regularly.   My search techniques haven't 
changed much, but I was coding search routines long before Google appeared 
and physical searches haven't changed much since I was introduced to the 
library card catalog.

For recipes, I often tap my growing collection on my computer, my library or 
the Florilegium.  For any medieval recipe, I still prefer to compare source, 
transcript, translation and redaction.

I am among the gainfully unemployed (retired).  Retirement has changed my 
employment and the nature of my primary endeavors, but not my curiosity, 
intellect and interests.  I am still involved in my vocations and 
avocations, just not to the extent of earning a living from them.


> This may seem a bit offbeat, but I thought maybe this list might like the 
> topic.
> For a talk I am scheduled to give at a cookery conference down the road,
> I have been looking once more into the larger question of how people go 
> looking for information on historical Medieval and Renaissance cookery, 
> foods, and/or recipes.
> Where do you look for information and ideas on medieval foods and feasts 
> in 2012 as opposed to say back in 2002 or 1992? The web and lists first?
> Have the lists of yesteryear been supplanted by Facebook?
> If seeking information, do you post the query before attempting to look on 
> your own?
> Or do you Google first? Is this being driven by use of cellphones and not 
> computers? Is it easier to post the query than to search
> on the smartphone? Do people also not respond to a query now because it's 
> harder to do so from a smartphone?
> How about Resources at home? Do you buy fewer books?
> How about using Resources/databases through a library? Do you ever look 
> through a book at home first?
> How have your search techniques changed?
> Medieval recipes? Do you look at books at home first or turn
> to the web?  Which sites do you use and trust?
> Have you dropped out of researching ? After an N number of years, you no 
> longer care to keep up with the field. You've retired.
> I was told recently that someone did all of his/her medieval cookery 
> research for an SCA "cookbook"
> by using Yahoo and the term "medieval". The author didn't check the 
> validity of the sources.
> Yahoo was good enough! "All of the information [needed] is just there!"
> When questioned if this was good enough, the author was of the opinion 
> that everyone's research was equally valid  and ok because this
> was the SCA.
> Johnnae
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