Maintaining Information

Always note the source of information that you record or photocopy, and date it too. If the material is from a book, write the name, author, publisher, year of publication, ISBN (if it has one), and also the library where you found it (or else photocopy the title page). Occasionally you'll find that you need to refer to a book again, or go back to great aunt Matilda to clarify something she told you.

It may be a good idea to use a Research Log.

Make photocopies or keep backups of all letters and e-mail messages you send. This will save you from wondering which of your correspondents' questions you've already answered, and which of your questions they have or haven't answered.

Don't procrastinate in responding to letters or messages you receive. If you don't have time to write a detailed reply, send your correspondent a quick message or postcard to acknowledge receipt and tell her/him approximately when you'll send them a more complete reply. Then be sure to write back as you've promised.

Make frequent backups of your computer disks. Store your backups and photocopies of your irreplaceable documents where you work or at someone else's home.