Readings 9/26

When you see projects like The Quilt Index, H-Net, and Encyclopedia of Life you realize the infinite possibilities of the Internet. It makes me think of all the many subjects that can be addressed in this way on the Web through the collaboration of many reliable sources. I’m sure that day will come in the future when students do all of their research on the Internet (I know some are doing it now!) and forego books and libraries altogether–for good or bad, only time will tell.

Rosenzweig’s article on Wikipedia addressed problems that I’ve thought of. I remember when Wikipedia first started (or at least when I first found out about it), you couldn’t really trust what was on there to be accurate. When I was doing my article on Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) I noticed some misinformation. For example (and this is still up there), Wikipedia calls him a “Civil War soldier.” From my readings, Cody was never an “official” soldier. He was a “civilian” scout for the Army on several occasions through his lifetime, but I’m not sure that qualifies him as a “soldier” per se. This is from my article:

“In 1862, he joined the Ninth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry as a civilian guide and scout. He later became one of the Red Legged Scouts (the name coming from the red leggings they wore), an informal (some say vigilante) militia acting on the side of the Union. In 1863, he joined the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, also as a civilian scout.”

You may say I’m being picky but I believe that small bits of misinformation like what is on Wikipedia is how history gets jumbled as it meanders through the years.

Here is an example of sources used by contributors to Wikipedia and then the sources I used below.

(ABC-CLIO, the publisherss of my article, would only allow me to list a certain number of sources, but I used more than is indicated there. Very helpful were original newspaper accounts of Buffalo Bill and his family of which there were many, many, but which is not listed in the ABC-CLIO publication.)

(Wikipedia) References

  • Cody, Col. William F: “The Adventures of Buffalo Bill Cody”, 1st ed. page viii. New York and London: Harper & Brother, 1904
  • Cody, Col. William F: “The Adventures of Buffalo Bill Cody”, 1st ed. page viii. New York and London: Harper & Brother, 1904
  • Cody, Col. William F: “The Adventures of Buffalo Bill Cody”, 1st ed. page viii. New York and London: Harper & Brother, 1904
  • http://www.buffalobill.org/history.htm Retrived on 2008-06-07
  • http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbuffalo.html Retrieved on 2008-06-07
  • Could Building Site be burial ground of the lost warrior from Buffalo Bill’s show? Retrieved on 2008-04-25
  • Kensel, W. Hudson. Pahaska Tepee, Buffalo Bill’s Old Hunting Lodge and Hotel, A History, 1901-1946. Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 1987.
  • Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: “The Book of General Ignorance”. Faber & Faber, 2006.
  • Larry McMurtry: “Sacagawea’s Nickname”. New York Review of Books, 2001.
  • Colorado Transcript, May 17, 1917.
  • Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: “The Book of General Ignorance”. Faber & Faber, 2006.
  • The false Italian pedigree of Buffalo Bill is one of the many items unearthed by Umberto Eco during his extensive reaserch into the pulp literature and popular culture of Fascist Italy, undetaken for writing “The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana”

(My) References 

  • Blackstone, Sarah J. 1954. Buckskins, Bullets, and Business: A History of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  • Bridger, Bobby. 2002. Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the Wild West. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Carter, Robert A. 2000. Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man Behind the Legend. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Cody, William F. [1879] 1978. The Life of Hon. William F. Cody: Known as Buffalo Bill: The Famous Hunter, Scout, and Guide. An Autobiography. Foreword by Don Russell. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Cody, William F. 1920. An Autobiography of Buffalo Bill (Colonel W.F. Cody). New York: Cosmopolitan Book.
  • Russell, Don. 1960. The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Wetmore, Helen Cody. 1899. Last of the Great Scouts: The Life Story of Col. William F. Cody “Buffalo Bill” as Told by His Sister Helen Cody Wetmore. Duluth, MN: Duluth Printing Services.
  • Yost, Nellie Irene Snyder. 1979. Buffalo Bill, His Family, Friends, Fame, Failures, and Fortunes. Chicago: Sage Books.

Thus, I still don’t trust Wikipedia completely and always look at more than one source (other Internet resources and primary and secondary non-Internet sources) for my research. But whether it’s Wikipedia or other sources you always need to resort to more than one resource.

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