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Posted By: Walter F. Mathers on: 05/20/2002 09:39:04 CDT
Subject: National Research Web for SCARD

Message Detail:

Tnx for endorsing the idea (or concept) of creating a web of potential signal, balloon, and telegraph researchers everywhere, that SCARD, as a clearing house of information, may capitalize on available local resources by way of the proximity of our many dedicated enthusiasts.

'Tis true that many of our associates have little extra time to devote to full time research but if we could develop a standing list of research requests, the needs could be addressed as part of another mission (like ones intentions of going to San Franscico (or San Jose) for a conference, re-enactment, or even a business trip that would bring us in close proximity to an historical society or museum for even but a few hours. In a previous forum thread, I made a plea for cyber-clerks in part to tap the various computer generated research leads. This new medium could be used to our advantage as well for research want-ads. Some of us already scan the Geneological query-lists for such leads. There's so much that can be gained and there are so may avenues to explore. If you know of someone who has found themselves with un-expected time on their hands and are looking for something worthwhile to devote a little of their time to, LOOK! LOOK! Our hands are waving here!

To elaborate the point, I would hope that someone in the Charleston, South Carolina area might wish to visit a local museum there in order to acquire digital photographs of some very interesting signal insignia, or someone in Atlanta, Georgia, to see what records may be in a group's holding which are not accessable on the web, or an associate who is close to downtown Syracuse, New York, for additional information on the Morse Telegraph Institute and its archive.

Some of our readers might think that they would be swamped with requests for information while others might be of the opinion that they may not be personally qualified to tackle such requests and do a good job with gathering the needed research. While these two concerns appear quite legitimate (and your writer personally resides just outside of the repositories of Washington, DC), I believe that like a fishing pool we can 'attract' research fishermen to our shores just by posting the sign which reads, 'good fish, bass, cat, trout, etc., may be found here'! Nothing says that you'd be compelled to drop your line into the pool. You might even drive by scores of times before giving it a try, but it will be ever in the back of your mind that he opportunity exists.

As to whether an individual considers him or herself as being qualified to conduct professional research, let me ask any SCARD forum poster, who reads this challenge, to supply us with a few URL addresses they feel could benefit the potential researcher when approaching various institutions with a research request. The offering should cover planning and executing a research trip. This would be a good first step for my of our would-be researchers.

Regardless of whether our readers would be interested in taking a snap-shot of a Veteran's headstone in the cemetery across town or setting aside an hour of down-time during a business trip to visit a repository, I believe that we would do well to consider setting up a seperate "research-opportunity" pool so that the requests would be posted and thus known to our associates.

These are my thoughts, what are yours?

Walt Mathers

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Signal Corps Association (1860-1865)
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