Fantastic research blog

Lisa Gold, an extraodinary researcher with deep ties to science fiction (she conducted research for Neal Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy and is married to the wonderful comedic sf/f writer Matt Ruff, author of the newly paperback-published Bad Monkeys) has launched a public blog where she's keeping track of her research notes. I have a love-hate relationship with book research, so it's amazing to see someone really good at it at work.
“The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.” – Samuel Johnson

I thought this famous Samuel Johnson quote would be an appropriate way to begin my blog. The problem is that Johnson never actually said this, despite the fact that you’ll find this attributed to him on a number of different quotation websites. None of these websites identified the original source of the Johnson quote, so I decided to dig a little deeper. The Apocrypha section of Frank Lynch’s Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page identifies this quote as a corruption of something Johnson did say, which was recorded by James Boswell in his Life of Johnson. The actual Johnson quote is: “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” I confirmed this by searching the text of Boswell’s Life of Johnson online.

Lisa Gold: Research Maven


  1. Thanks Cory!

    Great site. This one’s going in my bookmarks as I’ve already found two of her posts to be of great value.

  2. I’m in the middle of my own research, and this piqued my interest as far as pro tips and ideas I could use on making tedious research easier/better/faster/more fun.

    don’t get me wrong, the site looks to be off to a great start, but it’s less than a week old with few entries. IMHO it needs a little meat on its bones before a huge unveil. That being said, I booked marked it anyway as it looks promising for the future. Good Luck.

  3. I’m happy to know about this blog and looking forward to more posts from Lisa Gold. I’m an editorial researcher too, and my favorite work-related Samuel Johnson quote, which is taped on my bookshelf, reads:
    “There is nothing, Sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.”
    –Boswell’s Life of Johnson, p. 502:

  4. I’m doing research on becoming a researcher, so needless to say this aweseome BLOG just blows me out of the water!! I feel like my life has just taken an amazing turn for the better. Thank you BoingBoing!! Look for my research soon…I might start a blog or something for it.

  5. For those who haven’t read Stephenson’s Baroque, it’s a bit of work but really great. The details are wonderful. The blog looks like a very nice node in the infosphere.

Comments are closed.