Research TutorialStep One: Choose a Topic Whether you have been assigned a prompt or set free to write on any related subject, the first step is always the same: choose a topic! Hint: Pick something that interests you! For this tutorial we have chosen the topic of triremes in the Persian Wars.
Step Two: General ReferenceBefore giving into bad habits, typing “Triremes in the Persian War” into Google, and reading a Wikipedia article, know that there is a better, more effective way to start your research! The Scribner Library has a collection of reputable encyclopedias and dictionaries designed just for Classics where you can gain a fundamental understanding of your topic. You do not even need to take the stairs! The Reference collection is located on the first floor.The General Reference tab presents you with three good places to start. Let‟s try the Oxford Classical Dictionary DE5 .O9 2003
Step Two: General Reference Here is the entry for “Trireme” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary We learned the basic structure of the ship, how the oarsmen were organized, that most scholars attribute its invention to the Phoenicians or Egyptians, and, among other important facts, that the Athenians mastered the use of the ship during the 5th century BCE. This seems like a great start. The dictionary entry also points youto other resources – in this instance, twobooks – which are available either in the Scribner Library collection or through Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad)
Step Two: General ReferenceThere are also digital reference works such as the online BritannicaHere is the entry using the search term “trireme” This article points us to anotherarticle on the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE during the Persian War The article also gives us useful key words and characters, such as Themistocles, Aristides, and Artemisia
Step Three: Into the Stacks Much of the scholarship you need and the keys to finding useful materials elsewhere are located right in the Scribner Library stacks.A search in the LUCY Catalogue provides three options: a keyword search, an advanced search, or a simple search.Let‟s use a keyword search with our term “trireme” We get three results We know that Herodotus wrote on the Persian Wars so let‟s start there
Step Three: Into the Stacks At first glance Herodotus‟ Histories may not seem to be the bestresource, since the search located works with “trireme” in the title, but a quick look at the table of contents reveals a specific appendix titled “Trireme Warfare in Herodotus” by Nicolle Hirshfeld The appendix is useful in and of itself with great information, pictures, maps, and diagrams, but it also provides tips on whereelse to search embedded within the footnotes.She suggests the same book referenced by the Oxford Classical Dictionary Hirshfeld also makes reference to helpful journal articles Her footnotes providereferences to triremes in the primary sources (here, in Herodotus‟ Histories)
Step Three: Into the StacksBoth the Oxford Classical Dictionary and Hirschfeld‟s appendix article make reference to Morrison, J.S, & J.F. Coates, The Athenian Trireme: The History and Reconstruction of an Ancient Greek Warship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.Our LUCY Catalogue search showed that the Scribner Library does not have this resource, but we can get it through Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad or ILL).The link to ILL is located on the Scribner Library home page under My Account. You will need to enter your Skidmore username and password. Then click on the type of resource youwant to request, in our case “Book,” andfill in as much information as possible.
Step Four: Databases The same footnote that points tothe Morrison book also suggests a review by D. Potter, published inBryn Mawr Classical Review, of a book by R.T. Wallinga, Xerxes’ Greek Adventure: The naval perspective.A link to The Bryn Mawr Classical Review is found under the Database tab on the Classics Research home page. Use the number provided to find the right review … and here‟s the review!
Step Four: DatabasesThe Hirschfeld article suggested a journal article published in Classical Antiquity. You can directly access Journals through the Lucy Scribner Library Journals tab at the top of your screen. Using the search box, type the title of the journal we are looking for: “Classical Antiquity” and click Search!
Step Four: Databases You‟ll get a screen that looks like thisChoose which database contains the article you are looking for based on publication date. In our case each database contains thearticle, but for some searches you may find only one database contains the right article. The Scribner Library Journalssearch does this „guess and check‟ for you. Our article is from 1988, so we can choose the first JSTOR link. This will bring you directly to the JSTOR database where you have access to every volume of this publication. Using date and page numbers, you can find the one you need!
Step Five: Primary Sources The Hirschfeld appendix uses primary sources extensively,specifically Herodotus‟ Histories. The Primary Sources tab on the Classics Research homepage provides links to online collections of primary sources in Greek, Latin, and English. The Perseus Digital Library is a great resource for the study ofprimary texts and provides original Greek or Latin, as well as English translations.Use the links to “Popular Texts” orsearch for the text using the search box at the top of the page
Step Five: Primary SourcesThe reference we are looking for is Herodotus’ Histories (1.166). Perseus provides both the Greek and English versions
Step Six: Art and Archaeology Finally, we know from the Britannica and Oxford ClassicalDictionary entries, the Hirschfeld appendix, and other resources we’ve found along the way thatthere is a wealth of archaeological evidence for triremes as well as amodern reconstruction to support our findings. Using the database ARTstor, a search for “trireme” yields multiple results.
Step Six: Art and ArchaeologyMuseum collections are other goodresources for art and archaeological materials. Links are provided under the Museums tab. A quick search of the MFA- Boston collections yields Different search terms may yield better results. A modified search (keyword: sailing) of the Metropolitan Museum of Art-New York, produces
Step Seven: Keep Digging Using the skills you have learned, the resources provided by the Scribner Library and the Classics Research page, keep looking for books, journal articles and relevant bibliographies. Be sure to return to books we skipped over. Our LUCY Catalogue search for “trireme” produced three texts. You can use the techniques applied to theHirschfeld appendix with the remaining two texts to find more sources. Also, examine the titles and tables of contents of books shelved near these sources (a “shelf read”) to find other relevant information. Try using other search terms that we found along the way – for example, the “Battle of Salamis.” A LUCY Catalogue search returns another three books worth examining! Have fun and good luck! Researched and designed by Elizabeth Kiggins „12