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54256Re: [Authentic_SCA] A question about peace

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  • Robert Van Rens
    Sep 7, 2006
      >Jehanne was making a suggestion to Mikhail who had presented a very
      >vague topic. Given the context, her citation was probably sufficient.

      Granted, it was a vague topic.

      > > I thought the whole point
      > >of this listserve was to raise the level of scholarly discourse.
      >Well... one would hope.

      So, let's begin with the basics, shall we?

      >Come on, now. There's a great deal more information dealt with in the
      >Britannica than in a jr. hi. "world" history book.

      Only because it has more pages. Of course, the number of additional topics
      it deals with are, well, innumerable.

      >Encyclopediae are
      >just meant to present general surveys of information to an educated
      >general public - specific encyclopediae address different levels of
      >education - the Britannica is usually at a "higher" level than the
      >World Book.

      The both have same basic weakness; the articles are such superficial
      treatments of the topics that they are often WRONG by vitrue of ommission.
      The Wiki article at hand is just such a case.

      >Clearly no single article pretends to present its topic
      >in depth. But an encyclopedia or wiki article might be a decent start
      >for someone who has no idea what terms like "viking" or "heian" or
      >"abbasid" refer to.

      Yes, this is a very good use for encyclopedias. Less so for Wiki, since,
      as I pointed out the information CAN be changed by anyone, and therefore
      cannot be relied to be factual.

      >It's much quicker and
      >easier to point someone to a web site than to suggest they find their
      >nearest university library and see if they can get access to the
      >stacks to find some specialized texts.

      Yes, that is true. But even on the web, there are better sources availible.
      They don't have to be specialized texts.

      >Here where i live, the UC-Berkeley does NOT let people in who are not
      >students or paid up alumnae/alumni. If you are a member of the
      >"general public", in order to get access you must present yourself
      >and some ID to the Research Librarian, tell him/her what you want to
      >do, and get a pass.......... As a resident of the area, i could pay
      >in the vicinity of $150 annually for a library card to the
      >UC-Berkeley, but i can't really afford that right now.

      Similar policies are in effect at most university libraries, in my
      experience. I live a LONG way from any decent reearch libraries; I use
      inter-library loan a lot. Even the tiny, understocked local library is able
      to get things via ILL.

      >But until one begins doing research, one cannot have a good
      >idea which are the best sources.

      YES! YES! YES! Something we agree on!

      >When one comes to a topic fresh, one
      >can use what critical facilities one has, but one will at that point
      >be lacking in actual details - which are not only historical details
      >of the subject, but knowledge of historiography (the history of the
      >study of the subject, for those unfamiliar with such terms), and what
      >agendae have motivated researchers, leading to lacunae in the
      >information or biases in the presentation of the information.
      >Often people end up using not very good print sources because they
      >don't understand the historiography and/or their local libraries
      >don't have good sources, and no one is helping them to understand the
      >flaws and failings in the books they are reading.


      >This is, after all, an e-mail list, and we don't all have access to
      >the same books on all the possible topics there are. But we do all
      >have access to the 'net. I don't think it's bad to start someone off
      >with a website for some general ideas.

      You've kinda missed my whole point; SPECIFICALLY Wikipedia is open-source
      material, able to be modified by ANYONE, regardless of their knowledge of
      the topic. My assertion is that it therefore has limited validity, since
      there's no way to restrict posting and rewriting by anyone for any reason.
      For instance, the Templar conspiracy theorists ahve a field day with
      Wikipedia; periodically, someone goes in and prunes out all the trash, and
      it grows back again, and it gets pruned back, and it gorws again, etc etc

      There ARE very good sources online. I'm not attacking web-based research in
      general; I just have a problem with anyone relying on Wikipedia.

      >If Japanese history is your focus, perhaps you could make some
      >specific suggestions to books in English (or other Western European

      Actually, it's not - sort of a past hobby. But I'll look through my
      personal library and see what I can suggest.

      Eadric the Potter

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