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May 1995, Week 1


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Corey Creekmur <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 3 May 1995 12:55:56 CDT
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Thank you Kristin Brancolini for taking the time to look up a reference
>useful not only to the person asking but to many of us reading.  Can we
>be a little kinder to those of us not teaching at research universities
>with massive library holdings?  Creekmur's comment to the person looking
>for information on Duras struck me as harsh and intimidating to those
>beginning to work in the field.  This list has functioned most
>effectively from what I've seen when so many pool their resources as
>occurred in the "recorded messages" exchange.
I'd like to defend myself here -- I was concerned as well with the list
"functioning most effectively," and I don't think it does so when people
ask for initial information that should be very easy to obtain, if not on
the shelves of all libraries, certaintly through reference works,
interlibrary loan, etc.  I hope many on this list will recognize that I've
happily tracked down sources, references, etc. on a range of topics when I
felt I could help.  The question about "recorded messages" is obviously not
something one could look up in straightforward way, and I agree that asking
about such things on this list is useful and enjoyable.  But asking if
there is anything at all written on Duras or HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR is not so
far removed from asking if anything has ever been written about Ernest
Hemingway, or BREATHLESS.  It's quite a different matter if someone has
done some basic searching and asks if people have recommendations among the
great body of material available.
        I will admit that I may be spoiled by access to decent libraries --
if not my own school's, then quite a few nearby.  But surely computers,
interlibrary loan systems, etc. have broken down some of the problems with
poorly stocked libraries?  Though they posted responses privately to me, a
couple of librarians suggested that they agreed with my response: they were
going to respond to the original request until their initial searches
revealed a few hundred items on the topic.  I believe they didn't respond
then, recognizing how broad the request was.  (One noted that close to a
dozen Duras books were available at a local Walden's, not known for
stocking your minor writers!)
        Again, I want the list to be useful, and I want to be helpful as
well, but there are ways in which requests can themselves foster useful
help -- by being specific, and by doing a little groundwork first; when
people say that they've looked all over but still can't find something, I
want to immediately help if I can; when they imply that they haven't
bothered to look very hard, but want someone else to hand them an initial
bibliography, I respond as I did, which is to say in a wishy-washy way, by
complaining AND by providing a useful source.