Joe Smith

Donna Halper
Fri Jul 7 21:18:57 EDT 2006

At 07:23 PM 7/7/2006 -0400, Roger Kolakowski wrote:
>Sorry Guys...
>I didn't realize that Google had NO VALUE in research and validity as a
>resource for history.

Not what I said at all-- although for scholars, google isn't considered 
reliable because it relies on repetition rather than on proof. I have no 
clue who said X about Joe Smith-- maybe it was a friend, maybe it was Joe 
himself or a fan or a pal or an enemy-- google doesn't tell me.  All 
information is treated the same, whether it's accurate or whether it's 
wrong.  So if the person who started the story was accurate, we're all in 
good shape.  But if the person was wrong, inaccurate information goes 
spinning around cyberspace forever.  I certainly have found google to be a 
good first step sometimes-- and I use it that way.  But unless I know the 
reliability of the source material, I don't trust what I find there, since 
I have no way of guaranteeing that the material cited is authentic.  Also, 
sources that use recollection many years later can be inaccurate without 
meaning to-- I have no idea where I was on July 7, 1960, for 
example.  Someday, somebody may write my life story (that's a joke) and ask 
me what I did that day-- I may try to guess, but what if my guess is 
wrong?  I've found that asking old-timers about their career 30 years later 
can sometimes yield good information and sometimes not.  That's my only 
caveat.  Just because it's on google doesn't mean it really happened that 
way...  Oh and as a researcher, I cross-reference newspaper and magazine 
sources too-- as much as we may want to get quick info, sometimes there is 
no quick way to make sure it's correct without checking several sources 
you've found to be reliable in the past. 

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