November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
Originally, I took this class for fun, just to explore resources and to educate myself on a topic in history that sparked my interest. Unexpectedly, I had my first exposure to the “101”. I was totally clueless when everyone discussed their “101’s” or “103’s” in class. I now have a gist of what an extended research project may entail. Considering that this is my first semester at college, I consider the exploration of resources around campus to be potentially helpful for me in the future. The topic I decided to research I found was relatively obscure. There are few books written on Hessian involvement in the revolution. Most information I found on Hessians came from unusual places such as family genealogies. The two books I found in main stacks, however, illustrated Hessian involvement quite well. “A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution” and “The Hessians” both gave interesting personal and purely academic perspectives on mercenary involvement during the American War of Independence. Overall, they dispelled my stereotypical notions about mercenaries; that they were disorganized and wandering bands of warriors with dubious social standing. Contrary to this point, by the American Revolution, mercenaries had attained a more official reputation. Governments created mercenary regiments to pay for military upkeep. Although mercenaries during the revolutionary war still held mostly rear echelon and support positions, their duty then may not have been so much different than that of a modern private security company such as “Executive Outcomes”.
Actually, just the exposure to different resources on campus was more helpful in some of my other courses. I didn’t know that Cal even had a music library. The Media Resources Center had some of the more obscure films that I needed to view for my film course. Before coming to college, I hadn’t used a library legitimately. I had never checked out a book or used an online database such as oskicat. Most of the books I read I also own. Now that I’ve been exposed to such places, I realize their research value. Many of the articles that I might be looking for could not be bought from Barnes and Noble. Expanding on different research mediums, I found microfilm to be an informative source. Although most of the information that I sought was not on microfilm, the vast archive of microfilm was impressive enough to return. For example, I found a microfilm of newspaper dated 1870 from the Walnut Creek area (my hometown). To summarize, I am glad I took this course for the research opportunity and I hope to use the libraries and film archives on campus to propel my research later on.