I decided to peruse WorldCat for my database search this week. I have used WorldCat before in the past but infrequently. Thus, I felt as if I was learning to use it again for the first time. My first search of (world war 1) (dogs) produced paltry results. Indeed, I found myself sifting through young adult or “juvenile” books concerning dogs used in warfare (which to me is somewhat odd, but nevertheless). I then decided to try world war one dogs and produced similar results. My next stab included (dogs) (agency) and here is where my efforts proved most fruitful. Indeed, the first result of this last search was a book entitled, Animals and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Exploration. This book is also fortunately available fully on the web much to my benefit. I am hoping that WorldCat will continue to uncover useful resources for me.
This is not my first researching rodeo. And yet, I am always surprised by what I learn each time I dip into an archive either in person or via the web. It is perhaps too early to tell at this time but so far my research has only reinforced the ideas I have formulated for my project. The research I have undertaken thus far, however, has steered towards one particular individual: Lieutenant Colonel Richardson, the man credited with the effective training of the first British war dogs used in World War I. I aim to make his musings on the subject (he published a manual in 1919) and the work he pursued a part of my final research project.
Researching is not easy. It is complicated, it can be tedious, and it can feel overwhelming. Furthermore, though it may seem that there are a plethora of resources out there just waiting to be mined through, they are not easily found. Indeed, often it is the right keyword combination that will make all the difference in unearthing valuable resources or those utterly irrelevant to your work. I will be the first to admit that I have not mastered the art of careful wording in research (though Presnell was certainly helpful!). I am, however, hopeful that each new search will only teach me more about researching and that I will continue to grow as both a researcher and a historian.