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Internet sleuthing


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I sent this in a message to Iteachstem and thought it would be fun to see if anyone else on here enjoys being an internet sleuth - AKA I'm trying to find XYZ, or I can't figure out what this item is that I have, etc.  Here's my best one:


Around 20 years ago, my boss where I worked was looking for a children's book.  The book was written by his wife's sister who had passed away.  They were hoping to find one more copy of the book so that all of her children could have a copy.  I ended up finding two of them, one hard cover and one soft cover.  I didn't tell him that I had found it, I just put it on his desk at work.  He came out of his office holding the book and his eyes looked like he had seen a ghost.  "Where did you find this???"  I told him that I had found it on a used book store's website and that I actually had another copy coming as well.

It was right before Christmas so he wrapped it up and gave it to her and the family had another one to keep as well.  It was pretty awesome.  The family was floored that I found not one but two copies of the book!

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A couple years ago, right after Russia invaded Ukraine, My good friend Brad, decided to go over there to help out.

he spent the next year and something helping to deliver food and medical supplies to folks in and around the Bakhmut area.

He also provided evacuation services to the elderly and infirm.

At times he was literally carrying people out of apartment buildings as they were being shelled by the advancing Russian forces.


During all of this he mentioned that he had heard a particular organ piece on public radio some years before and that it wasn’t available anywhere.

This piqued my interest, I had actually remembered Brad mentioning this same piece several years before. 

I started searching.


Eventually I was able to track down the website of the organist in Norway who had recorded the only known copy of the work in question.

I entered my info on his websites contact form and waited.


Within a day or two I had a response asking for my address so he could send me a copy of his CD.

A few weeks later a copy of the CD showed up at my house.


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As a historian, I can identify with this thread very closely. My first book was published in 2009, and the second in 2018.  Each project took about five years. The amount of online info posted between those two projects amazed me. Much less working the microfilm for the second project.


One thing I discovered that many libraries have subscriptions to newspaper and other databases, and you can access them if you have a library card. That was a big help. Some of these library licenses,  alas, are only "educational" or "academic" ones. For instance, I was pleased to see my local library has access to the New York Times archive. I was disappointed to learn their license only covers issues up to 1919.

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