SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Genres & Age Categories => Historical Fiction => Topic started by: Z-cat on May 18, 2008, 11:34 AM

Title: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Z-cat on May 18, 2008, 11:34 AM
Anyone know of any good sites where one might do a quick check of historical facts?  I've seen books for different time peirods (old west, civil war, etc) that list certain facts of the day, prices, fashions, available merchandise, etc.
Where do you go online?
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Z-cat on May 19, 2008, 05:23 PM


...crickets...

I can wait. Maybe I'll take up :knit
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Gretchen on May 19, 2008, 05:37 PM
You can always look at wikipedia for info, but it might not be accurate.  Have you just tried Googling for info?
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: SimplyFi on May 19, 2008, 05:47 PM
Hey, Z-cat, I heard the crickets and the clack of knitting needles...thought I'd come on over and join you on the porch.   :lol

I do a lot of nonfiction research, so I'll hazard a guess.  I haven't heard of a website like this, but boy, it would be a monster to maintain, and as yet another step away from primary source material, I'm not sure how trustworthy it would be. I always make sure I have at least two, preferrably three or more independent reliable sources for each fact I use. I still rely heavily on books, but using specific terms in a google search will usually yield multiple sources that are reliable...a quick gander at the URLs is often enough to separate the reliable from the dubious. You can also check out Google Scholar for academic papers. Depending on what you're looking for, factchecking could go quickly this way.  Since you have the whole internet at your disposal, do you really need a site as you describe in your question?




Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: anita on May 19, 2008, 05:53 PM
I think that sources depend on the time period and the location you're working on.  I often start with wikipedia for general information.  Kids NF books are often a good place to look.

But I don't think here's any one good web-site that has information about all time periods and cultures and countries.

anita
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Z-cat on May 19, 2008, 06:08 PM
Oh, I'm doing searches all the time, and when I go to revise, I'll be triple and quadruple checking all of my facts.
I'm working on an historic/fantasy/adventure story right now, so there are some completely invented elements, but I'd like to keep the ambiance as accurate as possible. I find myself googling things the whole time I'm writing, and I just wondered if anyone had found or used a good go-to site for quick check to see if I was way off base as I go.
I found a site the other day with basic horse terminology for western writers, I thought there must be others out there, and that some writers must have found them at one time or another.

I guess I'm so totally, utterly spoiled by having instant access to information that I want it to be even MORE instant and even MORE accessible.  :dr
Why should I have to look at THREE WHOLE SITES!!! :duh

I guess I'm just asking, have you found any sites you wind up using a lot, or that are really good resources? They can be really era-specific.
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: dianebailey on May 19, 2008, 06:40 PM

This isn't exactly fact-checking, but it came up when I was googling for some other fact-checking:

http://www.writersdreamtools.com/guest.asp

I think I used it to find some period-appropriate expression or something.

For real, nitty-gritty fact-checking, though, I think you just have to search your individual "fact" until you feel confident that your information is accurate.
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: SimplyFi on May 20, 2008, 09:13 PM
"I guess I'm so totally, utterly spoiled by having instant access to information that I want it to be even MORE instant and even MORE accessible.   :dr "

LOL! I totally hear ya, Z-cat.  I bet you look for Control-F when researching in books, don't you?  Come on, 'fess up.  Hee hee...
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Jille on May 21, 2008, 05:01 AM
Try this site, which lists lots of other history sites:

http://www.besthistorysites.net/USHistory.shtml
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: ecb on May 21, 2008, 01:52 PM
I don't know anything about this site, but it was linked on a local writers' group's website:

http://www.writers-free-reference.com/
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: MarciaK on May 21, 2008, 08:36 PM
I've joined Facebook groups that specialize in the topics I'm writing about. I've managed to find a journalist who has answered several of my questions about a particular location.
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Joni on May 21, 2008, 08:49 PM
You can always look at wikipedia for info, but it might not be accurate. 

Be VERY careful about wikipedia. It can be a good place to start, but I've found tons of inaccurate historical info on it -- it tends to contain a lot of "conventional wisdom," much of which is wrong or doesn't reflect historical expertise in more recent years. If you use it as a starting point for things to research further, from more reliable sources, you'll be okay.
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Writermama on June 03, 2008, 11:03 AM
Sorry to get to this thread so late, Z-cat, but one website that I like to use for historical information about prices, gadgets, cars, houses, appliances in the past, etc. is The People History Site at www.thepeoplehistory.com.  It lists all the things I described plus more from the 1920s though to the 1990s and 2000s.  It also has testimonies/anecdotes from people who grew up in such eras as the 1930s and 1940s.  This site has been helpful to me since I'm writing a mid-grade that takes place in the 1940s. The site has a link for each decade.

Hope this helps!   :smile


Crystal
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: DianaM on June 03, 2008, 12:17 PM
I have been burned by Wikipedia before, so I don't trust that site anymore.

I think Encyclopedia.com is more reliable since it has online versions of real, printed encyclopedias.

For example, here are some quick facts about pioneer life:  http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536601254.html
Title: Re: Any good fact-checking sites?
Post by: Z-cat on June 03, 2008, 04:14 PM
Thanks guys!

Writermamm and Diana, you guys managed to hit right before and right after the era I'm looking for.  :moose  encyclopedia.com will probably come in handy.

So far I'm still using the "hunt and peck" technique.