Here is a link to my bibliography of regional Native American literature, on which I’m eager to entertain comments and suggestions!
I have been building this bibliography in Zotero, a tool I really can’t praise enough. Designed by the geniuses at George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, it is a free, open-source citation manager that really puts others (EndNote, RefWorks) to shame. Zotero is not only a cinch to use*; it was designed with the express aim of allowing scholars and readers to share their work in progress. In this interesting podcast, historian Dan Cohen talks about one of the impulses behind the design: he recalled a moment when, as a graduate student, he entered his dissertation adviser’s office, and the professor rapidly fired off a list of the top books, articles and archives he’d need to consult to become an expert on his topic.
Why, Cohen wondered, should anyone have to learn a secret handshake to get at this kind of knowledge?
Further, (Siobhan wondered), why would a scholar think that she could assemble a definitive bibliography of anything all on her own? If there is one thing I’ve learned while reading, teaching and researching about Native American literature, it’s that so many interesting works fall through the cracks, and are likely to be missed if you adhere only to the usual channels (mainstream publishers, large library databases). You find a great deal more by visiting local communities where Native people live–browsing local shops, libraries and historical societies; and, most of all, talking to people who either own or remember that old volume of poetry from the 1930s, now long out of print.
Taking a bibliography like this online has the power to expand those conversations even further. So I am eager to hear from readers, writers, and fans of this literature: what’s missing?
*for academics: honestly, I could cry thinking of the hours I’ve wasted, assiduously typing in source information to my own bibliographies and re-formatting articles for publication depending on individual journals’ demands. Zotero automatically grabs all the publication info for you and stores it in an iTunes-style window; it lets you drag and drop those citations across new bibliographies and into your Word Documents; and it automatically generates Works Cited pages for you. This is the kind of work computers were supposed to save us. . . .