ancestryink fisherman

Monday, May 13, 2013

Maritime Monday : Sailing from NEHGS to Archive.org and New Maritime Sources

This week's edition of "The Weekly Genealogist," published by NEHGS, included an article that thrills aficionados of Boston history: " A Note from the Editor: Annie Haven Thwing's Boston, by Lynn Betlock, Editor."  Annie Haven Thwing's body of research is formidable.  The article states:

"In 1920, Thwing drew on her research to publish the book for which she is best known today, The Crooked and Narrow Streets of Boston, 1630–1822."

The title of Thwing's book in the article links to her book published online at Archive.org.http://archive.org/details/crookednarrowst00thwigoog 

This journey from NEHGS and "The Weekly Genealogist," to "Archive.org,"  thankfully re-acquainted me with an incredible purveyor of historical information, including - maritime sources.

home page of Archive.org
Archive.org consolidates and presents digitized information of all kinds (text, music, videos, - it's mind-boggling actually!) from all over the internet and presents it in searchable form for "researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public ..."

So, besides the pleasant discovery of Thwing's book online there, I of course immediately jumped into the search window with my own keyword search of "whaling," to see where it would take me. 

Here is one result of my "whaling" keyword search at Archive.org:

Welcome to New Bedford Whaling Museum

Books contributed by New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Browse Collection
Browse by Subject / Keywords

Recently Reviewed Items (more)

 This kind of result is exciting.  There were many other results to my "whaling" keyword search at Archive.org.  The New Bedford Whaling Museum and its digitized offerings of ship logbooks, consolidated into one list, was just one source.  This concise list hugely reduces search time.  No hunting and pecking all over the internet.  It also clues you in to direct sources of information.  Ex:  The New Bedford Whaling Museum has its own online archives which I knew about and often access via their website.  But there are many other sources I did not know about which showed up in my "whaling" keyword search. 
Each search result includes extensive information in the right and left-hand menus, about who digitized the text (or music, video, etc.), when it was digitized, similar search results, and more.  And you can see, gives you the ability to find, right away, the most recent publications in your area of interest, at Archive.org.  

Like the Google Books search engine, you are offered various methods of reading your results:  online, download a PDF, etc.   I found the results to be crystal clear and the online page-turning and reading to be better than any I have used.

Online reader format: Log of the ship Nimrod
Many digitized texts (but not all) are keyword searchable.  I think in the case of the digitized log books which were hand-penned, the only searchable area of these logs was the collection information added by the museum or scanner at the beginning or end of the scanned text.

In the online book "Whaling" by Charles Boardman Hawes, however,  the entire book is searchable and the results show up in a nicely laid-out horizontal arc of clickable orange "pointers" at the bottom of the reader to all pages containing the keyword.  It's just really easy.  I typed in "lost"  (experience tells me this will take me to "lost at sea" or "men lost," or "whale lost," and other pertinent - for me -information) and came up with the image you see below.  The small pointers at the bottom of the page lead me to pages containing "lost."  Nothing new in this kind of in-text search, but visually graceful and smooth.

keyword search of text shows orange pointer to page



Ultimately, I feel I have a fresh. new source of information which I know will be constantly updated.  Since the last time I visited Archive.org, probably many months ago,  it has added huge amounts of digitized information.

I think sometimes we get into the habit of searching our familiar, warm and fuzzy online databases...and then forget to access the many others out there - even when we know they are there.

I was happy to have been nudged out of my usual search pattern for maritime information by the article about Annie Haven Thwing's book, published by NEHGS.   It led me to a brimming source of digitized texts, and reminded me to "read all of The Weekly Genealogist!"

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