In this section we will discuss the tool kit necessary to begin your experience as an electronic researcher. The equipment has been divided up into a several sections by category as follows:


There are dozens of digital cameras available today made by a number of quality manufacturers in a wide range of types designed for everyone from amateur to professional photographers. Luckily for us the number of cameras suitable for use in electronic research is quite a bit smaller.


Gone are the days of racing to the ATM for more cash to put on your print card at the archives. No more fumbling with stacks and stacks of copied material at the security check point while each page is scrutinized to ensure that it is not part of the archival record. What about spending hours and hours looking for that one document you copied that has the key to your entire argument, but is now hopelessly buried on your desk. Welcome to the world of flatbed scanners!


Whether a researcher is on a short visit to an archive or on a long-term fellowship, he or she may find it convenient to pack along a mobile or portable printer. Mobile printers allow researchers to test scanner- or digital camera-generated document images and produce hard-copy for a variety of needs.


Lighting for our purposes can be a major problem, as most research facilities (quite rightly) restrict the use of artificial lighting on their objects. In those few situations where artificial light is allowed, the camera's built-in flash will often suffice. In situations where lighting is allowed and required in order to capture a usable image, the simplest solution is to use to ordinary lamps with 50 to 60 watt light bulbs (luckily, for our purposes with digital photography, we do not need to worry about the tungsten balanced lighting.) set up in such a way as to produce even lighting across the surface of the subject.


All digital cameras come with some basic software that enables the user to download their images to a computer and manipulate them in some fashion. For purposes of the electronic researcher, some form of imaging software such as Photoshop Elements is a necessary minimum for producing useable images in terms of size and any (slight) corrections that might be necessary in order to make the images accessible either for print or for the web.


This heading covers a wide range of tools and gadgets that experience has shown will save the electronic researcher loads of time and get the most out of valuable time working with hard to access source materials.


Valid XHTML 1.0!