Thursday, September 18, 2008

Researchin Fool

I love research. I really do. I think that's part of the reason I got into the whole librarian thing. I can help others research and when I have some downtime I, too, can research topics that interest me. Lately, I have gotten re-turned on to Confederacy of Dunces. I just reread the novel and I was totally blown away (again) by what a good, well written, funny, tour de force it is. It is a shame that its author, John Kennedy Toole, went the way of Sylvia Plath, and most recently, David Foster Wallace.

The last few days, okay the last two weeks, I have been doing some indepth literature review on what has been written about CoD and its author. At present, I have a big TIMELIFEBOOKS bag filled with books that in some way or another pertain to CoD. I have two dissertations as well as a small, but steadily growing stack of printouts of articles that have been written about the book and its author. I have also mined the works cited of said dissertations, looked for the resources those authors cited and found, ordered and otherwise tried to acquire those sources. I have ordered another dissertation that I will hopefully be able to peruse at some future date, and then photocopy and mine that workscited page.

Thank God for GoogleScholar and the variouis online databases I am able to access from work. I am sure that being able to use those has helped keep my interest and curiosity up. I doubt very much I would have dug through printed resources, but then again, maybe I would have. I can be tenacious when I want to be.

I think more than anything it is the search. Yes, the information is good, but the search for the information is what realy gets my burners going. John Kennedy Toole's personal papers, manuscripts, etc are housed at Tulane University. Anyone want to take a roadtrip to the Big Easy?

Maybe in the back of my mind somewhere there is a thought of using this research as a the beginnings of a masters thesis for a masters program I haven't even looked into, applied for, let alone started course work for. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Let's call this research "personal edification" and leave it at that for the time being.

I can justify doing this research in another way. It forces me to use databases in the library that sharpens my skills with database searching; I can in turn use those skills I've learned to help students with their research questions.

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