Update on Ghost Town Research

Mountville Store

This fall I’ve not been able to get out and explore like I normally do. However, I’ve continued to do research on potential ghost towns in South Carolina until I am able to get back out. I have several targets, some of which involve kayaking to get to them. Here’s a quick run-down of what I’m doing so far…

Several of these town are along the Savannah River. In the days before railroads many towns sprung up along its banks, only to die out as transportation routes changed and the river became less important. The list includes Purrysburg and Hamburg, and these, that I’ve recently researched:


Andersonville was located at the confluence of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers, right where the Savannah forms. By all reports it was a sizable town with stores and industry. By the late 1800’s it was already almost gone, having missed out on getting a railroad routed through it. By all reports it was a beautiful location, and became a picnic spot for residents from both South Carolina and Georgia. Continue reading “Update on Ghost Town Research”

Research Tools in Google Docs

I really miss Google Notebook. Combined with the Firefox plugin, it was one of the most useful tools for online research. I was very disappointed when Google decided to discontinue the service. At least they copied all of my notes into my Google Docs account when they ended the service.

So, I’ve been trying to use Google Docs when I do research for this blog. It’s not quite as elegant, but it gets the job done. Now Google has released a new tool for Google Docs. While it doesn’t completely replace Notebook, it does have potential as a great research tool. Continue reading “Research Tools in Google Docs”

Research Tips with a Camera

As I was doing the research for my post on South Carolina’s Tricentennial, one point was driven home – you just can’t find everything you need on the Internet. That’s a lesson our students often forget. Sometimes you just have to crack open a book or make a trip to the local library in order to get the information you need.

I have, however, found a couple of tricks to make library research much easier, especially if you’re working with reference materials and other items that have limited circulation, or that can’t be removed from the library. I’ve found these techniques especially helpful in places like the South Carolina Room of the Greenville County Library, where the items are often one of a kind, and need to be protected.

I always have an old-fashioned pencil and paper for taking notes, but my research tool of choice lately has been my trusty Nikon S70 point and shoot camera. Today’s cameras have such high resolution and memory is so cheap that it’s just as easy to snap a picture of a page in a book to review later. You can zoom into the photo to read the text clearly, and it saves a ton of money on photocopying. You can also snap photos of images and illustrations, as well as bibliographical information for proper citation later. Continue reading “Research Tips with a Camera”

Google Books Explored

books_logo_lg.png by RndConnections on Aviary

Yesterday Google rocked the eBook world by announcing its entry into the market. Their approach is to host everything in the cloud, and all access would be remote. The upside would be that your books are available on any device. The downside would be that you would have to be constantly connected to read them. There’s supposed to be a download option, but I haven’t read up enough on it. In fact, I’m not going to talk about the new service at all (apart from that brief introductory statement.) I’ll let the rest of the blogosphere do that, and perhaps follow up later. Instead, today I’d like to focus on what Google’s been doing all along with it’s Google Books service.

For whatever reason, I really hadn’t paid much attention to everything that was available in Google Books. It was something I knew about and had used on rare occasion. Lately I’ve been exploring it in depth, and I’m really impressed by all the tools available for research and reading. I’ve hinted at this in the last couple of posts, but this time I’ll take one book and put it through its paces. Continue reading “Google Books Explored”

South Carolina Digital Library

Today I discovered an excellent new online resource.  The South Carolina Digital Library is a collaborative project between several agencies, organizations, and colleges which brings together several digital libraries.  The collections include historical images, documents, audio, and other ephemera.  These items are still housed in their previous locations, but the SC Digital Library brings all … Continue reading South Carolina Digital Library