Top positive review
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Essential reading for any serious researcher (undergrad, postgrad or non fiction writer)
on 12 December 2015
Sorry but the review above stating that this is a period piece and has limited usefulness today is misleading. This might be true for the everyday undergraduate who barely strays from core textbooks (and will look up a few articles online at a push) but for the serious undergraduate and all postgraduates and general researchers, this book is invaluable. It is the way I was taught how to do things back in the 90s (so not that long ago).Yes we are helped today by digital catalogues and online journals. However at the moment research on topics is still heavily book based. Eco's book may have things that might seem anachronistic (like indexing your gathered bibliographies in an index card system: which I have adapted anyway as you have something analogue and on hand) but his comments on how to come up with a topic and in particular his chapter on bibliographical research and how to write will be of use not only to postgrads faced with a dissertation or thesis but to the committed undergraduate who may be faced with an essay topic that might be a little obscure and who might have that initial moment of panic about how to research the subject. Eco in his "Bibliographical research" section offers advice to the working and hard pushed novice student who has left his research to the last minute. How many students fit into that book if they are honest. Stephen Fry gives an example of Eco's book in his latest volume of memoirs (unconsciously) when he talks about the books he read as a teenage that helped him come to terms with his sexuality. He read one book, noted down the bibliographies at the end, went to the catalogues and found more which led to more. It is a bit like a longer analogue version of following hotlinks on the internet and it is a skill that comes as second nature to any good researcher. The fact that this book is written with tall the style and wit that is typical of Eco (except in his latest novel Numero Zero: but that is another story) makes this book a definite 5 star recommendation for any keen and dedicated student along with "The Craft of Research": Booth, WIlliams and Colomb (Chicago University Press) 3rd ed 2008. Both are unstuffy and encouraging and actually make the process of research seem fun and rewarding rather than a drudge. That is exactly how it should be.